Tuesday , Feb , 27 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Butler can’t put Wizards on his back

(Sports Network) – Just as one member of the big three gets set to return,
another one goes down.

The Wizards are getting ready to welcome the return of forward Antawn Jamison
to the lineup. The former first-round pick has been out since injuring his
left knee on January 30.

However, All-Star forward Caron Butler will miss Tuesday night’s game — his
second straight — against New Jersey because of lower back spasms. The
Wizards were forced to send Butler back to Washington to receive treatment for
the ailment.

“Before I had mild little back pains and I was able to play through it,”
Butler said on the team’s Web site Monday. “Now it’s a little too tight and I
don’t want to be out there and not be able to perform at a high level. I think
I would be hurting the team.”

Jarvis Hayes was inserted into the starting lineup when Butler missed the
Wizards’ loss to Minnesota on Sunday, but shot just 1-of-10 from the floor for
seven points.

If Butler is to miss any extended time, it will hopefully be offset by the
pending return of Jamison. The forward practiced with Washington on Monday,
but will not play in Tuesday night’s game against the Nets.

“We just want to be smart about the situation and make sure I help the team
and not hurt it,” Jamison said on Tuesday.

Butler has been an outstanding compliment to Gilbert Arenas this season. The
Connecticut product is second on the team with 20.3 points and 7.6 rebounds
per game.

Jamison has been excellent as well. He is third on Washington with 19.3 points
per contest, while he is tops on the team with 7.9 boards.

A long-term injury to Butler could be harmful to Washington if it hopes to
capture the Southeast Division. The Wizards lead both Orlando and Miami by
five games for the lead in the standings.

Washington has lost six of its last 10, but will kick off a four-game
homestand on Wednesday. That’s good news because the Wizards are a solid 21-7
as the host this season.