Wizards close to full strength for playoff series vs. Cavs Print
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Thursday, 17 April 2008 13:23
NBA Headline News

 WASHINGTON (AP) -The Washington Wizards, who lost 225 man-games due to injuries this season, had a full contingent on the floor Thursday for their first practice in preparation for the opening-round playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Those taking part included Caron Butler, who sat out the final three games of the regular season with a bruised right knee, DeShawn Stevenson, who has been bothered by a sore back, and Gilbert Arenas, who has been coming off the bench since returning from knee surgery.
Coach Eddie Jordan said only Arenas will be limited for Game 1 in Cleveland on Saturday.
``We want to get him off the bench, look at 25 minutes, hopefully it grows to 28 minutes, maybe 30 minutes if he feels good,'' Jordan said. ``He'll be a catalyst for us off the bench.''
Butler, who missed the playoff series last year against the Cavaliers with a hand injury, said he is ``banged up a little bit everywhere'' but isn't going to let his aches and pains keep him off the court this time.
``When I was injured last year, I was still trying to get out on the court,'' said Butler, who averaged a team-high 18.7 points against the Cavaliers this season. ``I healed up about two weeks too late and now it's an opportunity to play a little banged up. At the same time, my teammates need me and I know we can get the job done with me out there.''
Stevenson has engaged recently in some long-distance trash-talking with Cleveland star LeBron James, which began when Stevenson called the Cavaliers ``overrated.'' Stevenson knows his words will make him a marked man throughout the series.
``Hopefully I am. I should be,'' Stevenson said. ``We've got to win the series. I feel that it's our time and somebody has to step up.''
Asked how will get his body and mind ready for Saturday, Stevenson said: ``Just put on highlights of LeBron.''
Coach Mike Brown gave the Cavaliers the day off Thursday.
 

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