Just when it looked like Ian Mahinmi was turning a corner, the Wizards center has been sidelined with a right knee strain and his status is up in the air for Tuesday's game at the Brooklyn Nets.
Mahinmi didn't participate in the Wizards' practice on Monday, according to NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller, and will be evaluated pregame.
Mahinmi has yet to miss a game this season, one of six players to appear in all 26 of the Wizards' games. Last year, he played in only 31 of their 82 games due to injuries.
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Those injuries included a host of knee problems. Mahinmi had surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his left knee last October. After that he developed tendinitis in his right knee and underwent platelet-rich plasma treatment in both knees in December. Mahinmi also had a left calf strain in April that caused him to miss games in the playoffs. He then had a minor procedure involving his meniscus in his left knee early in the summer.
Mahinmi has avoided the injury bug this season so far and in recent weeks has improved his play. He set season-highs in points in each of the past two games with 10 points and eight rebounds against the Suns and 14 points and three assists against the Clippers. In his last 10 games, Mahinmi is +53 and averaging 4.4 rebounds in 18.9 minutes per game.
If Mahinmi can't go, that should open the door for Jason Smith to get some playing time, based on how head coach Scott Brooks treated Mahinmi's absences last season. But it would also mean heavier minutes for starting center Marcin Gortat.
The Wizards have a back-to-back set of games coming up at the Nets on Tuesday and then at home against the Grizzlies on Wednesday, something to keep in mind as they determine his status.
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