Jared Dudley had his first full practice with the Wizards on Wednesday, and he's optimistic that he'll be back on the court before the preseason ends and certain that he'll be ready for the start of the regular season Oct. 28.
"I've been like Lance Armstrong for the last month just doing bike work the whole time so on the court it's going to take a little bit," said Dudley, who had lower back surgery in July to repair a bulging disk. I look at this as my training camp. I got a week ... Hopefully I can get the last two preseason games. You get another week and then you have the season."
Dudley had been doing non-contact drills and last week he began to do partial contact. The key, of course, is not having setbacks. A career small forward, he's expected to play more as a "stretch" power forward for the Wizards in coach Randy Wittman's new system. Drew Gooden is the other option in the rotation. Kris Humphries still is trying to develop three-point range to become one.
"Good thing about it is playing the four, me being a natural three, it's easier for me to guard fours," Dudley said. "I don't have to be in tip top (shape). I'm not running around guarding Kevin Durant (instead) it's a backup power forward.
The Wizards can use another body. Alan Anderson had surgery on Tuesday to remove a bone fragment from his left ankle and the length of his absence has yet to be determined. Martell Webster is bothered by a right hip strain and not practicing. Kelly Oubre is a rookie who is still learning.
"Got a little tired but overall I thought I played well," Dudley said of practice. "For now it's about getting in shape. I have no pain in my back or anything so I'm good to go."
MORE WIZARDS: Wizards' vets say 'lot of work to do' for Wall, Beal