Marcin Gortat is back the Wizards for tonight's game with the Houston Rockets, ending a weeklong absence in which he missed three games to tend to his mother who was hospitalized in Poland.
Gortat attended morning shootaround at Verizon Center and appears ready to return to the starting lineup occupied by Ryan Hollins in his place.
"The big hammer is back," said Gortat, who flew back to D.C. on Tuesday in what was a 14-hour trip. "It's not easy to go back to Europe during the season and then stay over there for three nights and then fly back here. ... It was kind of a pain. There was a reason why I went. I had to see my mom. She was in a bad condition. She's still in a bad condition but next few months she'll be better now."
Although the Wizards (9-10) have struggled to be consistent, they've won two of three games without Gortat who had posted double-doubles in three consecutive games before taking his leave.
"It was kind of unusual for me," Gortat said. "First time in 12 years I went back to my country and saw my family in the middle of December. It was definitely a weird experience. Obviously, I wish it was a different reason I left to Poland. I'm glad my mom is doing a little bit better. She still needs a lot of rehab and right now I'm anxious to get back to the game."
He still was able to work out and only saw highlights of their three games.
How Gortat is integrated back into the system that was restructured to compensate for his absence and that of Nene (calf), Drew Gooden (calf) and until recently Kris Humphries? That's the big question.
"I've seen the team play with a small lineup. I think they did a tremendous job playing without some of the big men," Gortat said.
The Wizards haven't had consecutive wins since Nov. 21, when they beat the Detroit Pistons after taking down the Milwaukee Bucks.
They went on the road to beat the Miami Heat on Monday. The Rockets will be playing the second game of a back-to-back after losing 110-105 to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.