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Jodie Meeks says injuries are behind him, hopes to reset with Wizards

Jodie Meeks says injuries are behind him, hopes to reset with Wizards

In signing Jodie Meeks to a two-year deal in free agency, the Wizards may have solved their problem at the backup shooting guard position behind Bradley Beal with a guy known for scoring in bunches and shooting consistently from three-point range. But in order for that scenario to play out, Meeks will need to overcome some tough injury luck that has plagued him in recent years.

Over the past three seasons, Meeks has appeared in an average of 33 games due to foot, back and thumb injuries. Two seasons ago, in 2015-16, Meeks played in just three games for the Detroit Pistons. Last year he managed only 36 appearances for the Orlando Magic.

Meeks' injury saga began in the 2014-15 season when he suffered a stress reaction in his lower back in October. He would return to play in 60 games, but the next October he broke his right foot and required surgery. He battled back to play in the team's season finale, but had to have surgery again on the same foot in July of 2016.

[RELATED: 5 things to know about new Wizards forward Devin Robinson]

Meeks came back from the second surgery in December of 2016, only to dislocate his right thumb less than a month later, an injury that required surgery.

"It was disappointing," Meeks said. "It was like 'man, what else can go wrong?'"

Meeks returned in March for the Magic and finished the season and he insists those injuries are a thing of the past.

"I would say I'm 100 percent now. Thank the good Lord that I'm past that. It's summer time, so my body feels great," Meeks said. "I came back from my thumb at the end of the season. I played okay and finished out the season healthy. This summer I got some rest. Now I'm working out again and I feel fine."

The last time Meeks was healthy for a full season was 2013-14 when he was with the L.A. Lakers. Not surprisingly, that was also the best season of his career. Meeks averaged a career-high 15.7 points and shot a solid 46.3 percent from the field. His 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game, plus his 55.4 effective field goal percentage were all career-highs.

[RELATED: What we learned from Wizards' Summer League]

Meeks hopes to regain that form in Washington.

"The past couple of years have been tough with being injured. Coming off my career year in L.A. a couple of years ago, it felt like my career was going up with a lot of success for me. But the injury bug kind of hit me," he said. "It's been a little disappointing. But I try to make the most of my opportunities and not dwell on the past and dwell in disappointment. Just try to make the most of it. When I have my opportunity, just try to play well."

With the Lakers, Meeks had an opportunity paved by Kobe Bryant suffering an Achilles injury. He still holds on to that year as evidence he can play at a high level in the NBA.

"It was unfortunate for Kobe Bryant, but it was fortunate for me to expand my game and play a lot of minutes. When he got hurt, I was able to show what I can do. I just attribute that to hard work. I feel like given the playing time and opportunity, I showed that I can do it and can play in this league for a long time," he said.

Meeks averaged 9.1 points and shot 40.9 percent from three last season in Orlando. If he can maintain those numbers over a full season, the Wizards should be in good shape with Beal already established as their starter. But if he can get back to anything close to what he was with the Lakers, Meeks could prove to be a very nice pickup.

[RELATED: Wizards Tipoff podcast - Will John Wall sign the deal?]

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Wizards have letdown on defense, fall to Hornets in overtime

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Wizards have letdown on defense, fall to Hornets in overtime

The Washington Wizards lost the Charlotte Hornets 129-124 in overtime on Wednesday night at the Spectrum Center. Here's analysis of what went down...

Frustrating loss: The Wizards will not head into the Thanksgiving holiday a happy bunch. After an impressive road win at the Milwaukee Bucks, they let a winnable game slip away against the Hornets. They were up nine points with 3:32 left in the fourth, yet allowed the Hornets to force overtime and then dominate the extra period.

Defense was the problem for Washington. After holding opponents to 95 points or less in six of their last seven games, the Wizards gave up 129 points to an average offensive team. Yes, 15 of those points came in overtime, but the Wizards won't be happy with their defense after this one. They will probably regret the 53 bench points they gave up more than anything.

Beal, Wall heated up late: Neither John Wall or Bradley Beal had a rhythm in the first half, but both woke up later on for the Wizards. Wall had eight points in the first half, but on 3-for-11 shooting. Beal had seven points, but also on 3-for-11 from the field.

Stars can only be held in check for so long and Wall and Beal broke ultimately broke through. Wall had 11 points in the third quarter and Beal had seven. 

For a while it looked like Wall and Beal had taken the game over, but the Wizards couldn't take advantage despite Wall ending up with 31 points and 11 assists and Beal having 22 points, four rebounds and two steals.

Beal's night was highlighted by a series of dunks in the first half, including this one with two hands:

[RELATED: MAJOR INJURY NEWS FOR THE 2018 NBA DRAFT]

Howard was a beast: The Wizards did a good job limiting Dwight Howard this past spring when they faced the Hawks in the playoffs, but they had no such luck on Wednesday in their first meeting with Howard's Hornets. Howard was dominant down low with 26 points and 13 rebounds. The Hornets did a good job feeding him in the post and when he has position there are little options beyond sending him to the free throw line. 

Marcin Gortat (eight points, 11 rebounds) is a good match for Howard on most nights. They know each other well as former teammates with the Orlando Magic. Gortat had a fine game, but Howard was at his best on Wednesday. He was coming off of a 25-point, 20-rebound performance and he kept it going against the Wizards.

Howard also blocked Beal's buzzer-beater at the end of regulation. Beal got the ball with two seconds left and tried driving to his left down the baseline. Howard read the move and swatted the ball out of bounds. Howard then had a big bucket with less than a minute to go. He had a putback on an airballed three that was a backbreaker for the Wizards, who needed a stop.

Meeks and Scott were a plus: The Wizards got a nice boost from their bench from Jodie Meeks (nine points) and Mike Scott (13 points), two guys who have proven this season to be instant offense when they're at their best. Scott came in and hit a three with a pair of midrange jumpers in the first half. Meeks was getting it down in the paint with floaters and layups on nice cuts to the basket. 

Scott hit three threes and is now shooting 44.8 percent for the season. It's only on 29 attempts, but that's not bad at all.

Lamb was a problem: The Wizards had a lot of trouble with Hornets reserve Jeremy Lamb, who has been Charlotte's most improved player so far this season. He was a force off the bench with 24 points in 37 minutes. Lamb has always had a lot of potential as a freak athlete with a sweet jumper. He may be starting to truly put it all together.

The Wizards even tried Kelly Oubre, Jr., one of their best defenders, on him. But Lamb kept getting buckets and added seven rebounds and five assists. 

Up next: The Wizards are off for Thanksgiving and Friday. They pick back up on Saturday with the Portland Trail Blazers in town. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

[RELATED: MARKIEFF MORRIS STANDS UP FOR MEEK MILL]

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Markieff Morris stands up for rapper Meek Mill, was happy to see support in Philly

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USA Today Sports

Markieff Morris stands up for rapper Meek Mill, was happy to see support in Philly

Rap star Meek Mill going back to prison has affected many of his fans, Markieff Morris among them. The Washington Wizards forward is from Philadelphia, like Meek Mill, and loves his music.

Morris posted information for a rally to support Meek Mill earlier this month on his Instagram. Hundreds of fans showed up, including Sixers legend Julius Erving, Eagles players and Rick Ross.

The whole tri-state pull up and support!!

A post shared by KeefMorris5.0 (@keefmorris5.0) on

[RELATED: MAJOR INJURY NEWS FOR THE 2018 NBA DRAFT]

Morris joined the Wizards Tipoff podcast this week to discuss a series of topics, including Meek Mill. Morris is upset about the situation, but was happy to see the support.

"The city was big. We needed that, man," he said. "For them people to come out, it was a great thing for us, man, to see the support that the city is really behind him 100 percent."

Morris defended Meek Mill's character and pointed to his charitable efforts.

"Meek does a lot of stuff that goes unseen in Philly. He's kind of like us when it comes to showing support for the city and doing stuff while not looking for cameras to be broadcast it that he's doing something nice. He just does it because he's a good person," Morris said.

Meek Mill is going back to prison for violating his probation numerous times over the past several years. He was sentenced to two to four years.

Morris also talked about his relationship with John Wall and Bradley Beal, why he loves playing with Mike Scott, why the Wizards are a tough team and many other subjects.

Listen to the full interview right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

[RELATED: BRADLEY BEAL'S BIG MILESTONE, BY THE NUMBERS]