Trevor Ariza was set to play more than just his most recent former team for the first time when the Wizards visit New Orleans next week. The contest is followed by a trip to Houston and a return home to face the Los Angeles Lakers. Washington also goes to Orlando on Dec. 19.
Ariza will miss all those games and then some after suffering a left strain that made him collapse on the floor with the ball after picking off a Rashard Lewis pass midway through the third quarter of Washington’s 105-101 win over Miami on Tuesday.
“When I was running I just felt something that was uncomfortable, something I never felt before,” Ariza said. “I had to stop. I didn’t want to turn the ball over. We were in the middle of a run, so I had to stop play.”
After a slow start to the season, Ariza had been improving in recent games, showing more assertiveness attacking the basket and better decision making with the ball, looking for the open man rather than forcing shots. He had 14 points and five rebounds in Washington’s first win of the season, and he’d racked up five assists before his injury against the Heat.
“Yeah, it’s very frustrating but it is a part of the game,” Ariza said, wearing a walking boot at Verizon Center. “That’s why we have 15 players, so other players can come along and pick up other players when they’re down.”
It’s not the first calf strain suffered by the Wizards this season. Kevin Seraphin had a similar injury during preseason that cost him about three weeks of action. Wizards coach Randy Wittman used that as his frame of reference, and more was expected to be learned from an MRI taken on Wednesday.
“I’m not sitting here saying it’s going to be three and a half weeks,” Wittman said. “But we’re looking at some time. Hey, it’s another opportunity. Cartier [Martin] is going to step in. He’s fully capable of doing it, and I’ve got great confidence he can come right back in. We have Martell [Webster]. Obviously his minutes will increase. We can even move JC [Jordan Crawford] or Bradley [Beal], depending on who we’re playing, to a 2 or 3. We can move Shaun [Livingston] to a two. There are cases we’ve had to do that because of his size.”
Wittman could also move Chris Singleton, who has been playing most power forward, to Ariza’s spot on the win.
As for Ariza, he hadn’t exactly circled the next couple of weeks on his calendar.
“To be honest with you, I have plenty of former teams,” he said. “I look at every game as just another opponent.”