Injuries, Suspension Could Shorten Wizards’ Rotations for Game 1 in Toronto

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal speaks with reporters in D.C. after practice on April 13, one day before Game 1 of the team's first-round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal speaks with reporters in D.C. after practice on April 13, one day before Game 1 of the team's first-round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

After the Washington Wizards held its last practice Friday before the start of the 2018 playoffs, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said two of the team’s forwards, Otto Porter Jr. and Mike Scott, are listed as questionable.

Porter suffered a right leg strain during the team’s final home game against the Boston Celtics. Scott suffered a concussion in the season finale Wednesday against the Orlando Magic. Brooks said Scott must go through the league’s protocol in order to return to the lineup.

Meanwhile, the NBA announced Friday that Wizards backup guard Jodie Meeks has been suspended without pay for 25 games for violating the terms of the leagues anti-drug program. According to the two-sentence statement, Meeks tested positive for a growth hormone and his suspension will start with Saturday’s game against the Toronto Raptors.

ESPN first reported the news Friday afternoon.

“For the past nine years I have been humbled every day to have the opportunity to walk into an NBA arena and see the name Meeks on the back of an NBA jersey,” Meeks said in a statement to the sports network. “As part of my commitment to playing in the NBA for nine years, I have been subject to countless mandatory tests for any and all drugs including performance enhancing drugs. I have passed each and every drug test without issue for the last nine years.

“Because I have never used a drug of any kind I am absolutely heartbroken and perplexed with the news today,” he said. “Let me be clear: I have never taken anything whatsoever for a performance-enhancing reason. I respect the game of basketball too much.”

Washington point guard John Wall was informed about the suspension while speaking with reporters at Capital One Arena.

“That’s shocking,” Wall said. “Sad to hear it. Wish the best for him. I hope he can clear it up and solve whatever problem … he’s suspended for. It’s always next man up. The next man has to step up and play basketball.”

The Wizards announced Thursday the team signed NBA veteran guard and Prince George’s County native Ty Lawson, who played this season in the Chinese Basketball Association.

Washington expressed interest in Lawson earlier this year, but it didn’t work out, he said.

“It feels good,” Lawson, 30, said on being able to play professionally in D.C. “I grew up watching the Wizards. My dad was a fan of the Wizards. Being able to compete in the playoffs is going to be huge. I’m excited.”

Although Lawson practiced with the team Friday and reviewed plays, Brooks isn’t sure how much Lawson will be able to play.

“It’s a great pick-up,” Brooks said of Lawson. “It gives us a veteran player that has great playoff experience. I coached against him for many years. …We don’t know how much he’s going to play, if any, but we do have an option.”

Washington split the regular-season series with Toronto, 2-2, though Wall didn’t play in any of those games.

The Raptors are not only the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but also led the conference in scoring at nearly 112 points per contest.

The Wizards defeated the Raptors three years ago in the playoffs, sparked by now-retired forward Paul Pierce.

Now Wall and his fellow All-Star backcourt mate Bradley Beal lead the team against another star guard duo in DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.

“They are great guys off the floor,” Beal said of the Toronto tandem. “They’re just overall great people. Two guys I respect. We’re cool off the floor, but when we step on the floor, we’re all competitors.”

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About William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer 545 Articles
I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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