Blatche ea­ger for re­turn af­ter month­long ab­sence

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports - BY CARLA PEAY

walk, re­ally. It was bad.”

The in­jury has cost Blatche a month of play­ing time, but he plans to re­turn to the court Satur­day when the Wiz­ards host the Cleve­land Cava­liers. Blatche prac­ticed for the first time since the in­jury Thurs­day. “The calf feels great,” he said. “The first day back with the team was very ex­cit­ing, to be out there with my teammates. It’s been such a long time, to be up and run­ning down the court and try to fig­ure out these new plays.” CLEVE­LAND AT WIZ­ARDS Satur­day: TV: Ra­dio:

Af­ter a month away from the game, Blatche re­flected on how much he missed it.

“It’s been tough, just be­ing in the arena by my­self with­out my teammates,” Blatche said. “We’re like a fam­ily here, we’re all like friends. A lot of them kept in touch with me, was check­ing on me. Be­ing with­out bas­ket­ball is es­pe­cially tough. It’s some­thing I grew up with.”

Wiz­ards coach Randy Wittman will need to fig­ure out how to work Blatche into his re­vamped ro­ta­tion, which in­cludes more play­ing time for veteran Roger Ma­son Jr. and Mau­rice Evans, and more bench time for cen­ter Javale Mcgee and guard Nick Young, although Young’s sta­tus for Satur­day is in ques­tion.

Young missed prac­tice Thurs­day af­ter bruis­ing his right knee dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s 102-95 loss to the Or­lando Magic and had an MRI on Thurs­day. For­ward Rashard Lewis spent his prac­tice time shoot­ing jumpers but did not par­tic­i­pate in any con­tact ac­tiv­ity. Lewis is day-to-day with a sore left knee.

Blatche said he’s look­ing for­ward to be­ing “7-Day Dray” again, the nick­name he ac­quired when he changed his num­ber from 32 to 7 in 2009. The new num­ber, Blatche said, stood for his com­mit­ment to work­ing hard seven days a week.

“[I want] to get back to balling,” Blatche said. “Just balling, hooping and hav­ing fun. Go out there and be pro­duc­tive and help­ing the team win.”

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