Wizards get a bad break as Hughes fractures wrist

Guard to miss 4-6 weeks

`it definitely was painful'

February 11, 2004|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

From the "if it weren't for bad luck, we'd have no luck at all" file comes news from the Washington Wizards that leading scorer Larry Hughes will miss four to six weeks with a fractured left wrist.

Hughes, a 6-foot-5 guard, learned yesterday that he has a fractured capitate bone in his left, non-shooting wrist. The injury was suffered, according to team officials, in the second half of a 103-101 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies last Wednesday. Hughes scored 27 points that night.

Oddly enough, Hughes, who is averaging 18.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists, played last Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers, scoring 21 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. However, Hughes played only seven minutes the next night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, when the injury apparently flared up.

"It definitely was painful to play after I did it in the Memphis game, but I wanted to play 82 [games]. The Cleveland game was a different story," Hughes said yesterday.

Hughes' injury comes a week after the Wizards activated Jerry Stackhouse and Gilbert Arenas from the injured list, giving the team its full complement of players for the first time all season.

Stackhouse, last year's leading scorer, missed the season's first 45 games because of tissue buildup between his right knee and kneecap, while Arenas had three different injury-list stints because of a severe abdominal strain suffered in November.

"When we got Gilbert back and when we got Stack back, it seems like Larry was flourishing with those two guys on the floor," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "The game came much easier to him. He looked really comfortable on the floor. He got back to being a very good defender, and his shot selection was a whole lot better. The flow of his game was as good as anybody on the team. It's unfortunate that he went down."

The Wizards, who travel to Philadelphia tonight to meet the 76ers in their final game before the All-Star break, might be able to absorb Hughes' absence better now that Arenas and Stackhouse are back.

Jordan has a number of options available. He could choose to move Stackhouse to shooting guard, in Hughes' place, and start rookie Jarvis Hayes, or he could start either Steve Blake (Maryland) or Brevin Knight at point guard, moving Arenas to shooting guard. Jordan said he could also start Juan Dixon (Calvert Hall, Maryland) at shooting guard.

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