Quick Links

Markieff Morris close to returning to Wizards, but at what capacity?

USA Today Sports Images

Markieff Morris close to returning to Wizards, but at what capacity?

Already off to a 4-2 start, the Wizards are about to get even stronger.

Starting power forward Markieff Morris, who has been sidelined since late September, is on track to be activated Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns.

That would allow him to serve his one-game suspension due to last weekend's fight against the Warriors and make his season debut on Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Morris, 28, had surgery to repair a sports hernia and his abdominal wall on Sept. 22. Friday against the Cavaliers would be exactly six weeks since the surgery. Morris was prescribed a six-to-eight week recovery timeline, which could end up right on the money.

In the past several weeks Morris has worked his way up from 1-on-1 non-contact drills all the way to 5-on-5 scrimmages, a step he took on Tuesday at Capital One Arena.

As long as he checks out fine at Wednesday morning's shootaround, he should be good to go.

"Legs are a little heavy, but I feel ready to play," he said.


Head coach Scott Brooks said he expects to play Morris anywhere from 12 to 16 minutes in his first game. The Wizards plan to take their time with Morris, knowing it will likely take him several weeks to reach midseason form.

Morris himself knows it will take time.

"You have to actually play in games to be in game shape, not just running around in 5-on-5 in practice. You need to actually be in the game atmosphere," he said. "You can do anything you want; run marathons or whatever. It's not going to get you ready to play unless you are really out there."

Morris coming back but not at full capacity begs the question of what the Wizards will do with Kelly Oubre, Jr., who has filled in admirably for Morris. Oubre has started five of the Wizards' six games in Morris' place and has thrived, averaging 11.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks. 

Oubre will continue to play heavy minutes in a sixth-man role, whether he starts some games in the short-term or not.

"Right now [Morris] is our starter. We don't have a starting power forward controversy," Brooks said. 

"I would love to keep starting," Oubre said. "But at the end of the day, I want to do what is best for my team."

Brooks added that it will depend on how many minutes the Wizards decide Morris can play from the beginning, but long-term Morris remains the starter regardless of Oubre's play so far.

Brooks anticipates Oubre and Morris playing some together as the season moves on. Last season the Wizards experimented with Morris at the five in small-ball lineups and liked what they saw.

Morris will be happy to play in those lineups and noted he was a center in college and high school. Morris, Oubre and others will have to adapt to adjusted roles, but Brooks doesn't foresee any issues.

"We're a good enough team that we know sacrificing is going to be important," Brooks said of roles changing. "If we don't, then we don't have the right mindset."

If Morris does indeed return on Friday, the Wizards will be at full-strength just in time to host the Cavs, who won the Eastern Conference last season. On whether Morris is looking forward to playing LeBron James in his return, he quipped: "It doesn't matter who it is. He's just another man."


Quick Links

Wizards at Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

USA Today Sports Images

Wizards at Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Malik Monk and the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…


Where: Spectrum Center
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington Plus (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Defense has been excellent

The Wizards have shown recently that they are capable of being one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. In six of their last seven games they have held opponents to 95 points or less and they have kept teams to 100 points or less in seven straight. Only one team, the Celtics, has kept teams to 95 points or less more often than the Wizards (seven times). And only three teams have held opponents to 100 points or less more times than the Wizards (nine times).

The Wizards are eighth in defensive rating (102.5) and in points allowed (102.9/g) this season. They are third in points allowed in their last nine games. Have they played the best opponents? Maybe not. But those are impressive numbers, nonetheless.


Hornets have Howard now

Charlotte offers a different look these days with big man Dwight Howard manning the middle. They acquired him in a trade with the Hawks this offseason and he's off to a good start so far. Howard is averaging 14.6 points, 12.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. He had 25 points, 20 rebounds and four blocks against the Timberwolves on Monday.

The Hornets have also seen a huge improvement from 25-year-old guard Jeremy Lamb. The former first round pick is averaging 16.0 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 46.4 percent. Last year he averaged a career-high 9.7 points.


Recent history

The Wizards have handled the Hornets well in recent years. They won two of their three meetings last season and have won seven of the last 10 matchups going back to 2015. All three of the games between these teams last year, however, were decided by 10 points or less.

Walker tends to have trouble against John Wall. Walker has shot a hideous 35.7 percent against the Wizards in his career despite averaging 17.6 points and 6.4 assists. Wall's numbers against the Hornets are lower than his career norms, too. He's averaging a modest 17.7 points on 42.7 percent from the field. His 98 defensive rating vs. Charlotte is tied for his worst against any NBA team.


Quick Links

Best 2017 Black Friday gift ideas for the Wizards fan in your life


Best 2017 Black Friday gift ideas for the Wizards fan in your life

Looking for a Black Friday gift for that special Wizards fan? We’re got you covered.

Well they may not be that special, you may just be stuck with them in your gift exchange group. Believe it or not, some times sports’ fans are the hardest to shop for around the holidays. With Black Friday later this week there are going to be plenty of deals to find the perfect gift for any Wizards fan on your shopping list.

Here are a few ideas:

1. John Wall Jersey

Price: $69.99

Where to Buy: NBA Store

Why They’ll Love It: This is pretty self-explanatory. If they don’t have one, they need one. If they do have one, they can always use another. Attached is the link for the Men’s jerseys but they also have Women’s and Kids sizes as well.

2. Washington Wizards New Era Cuffed Knit Hat with Pom

Price: $23.99

Where to Buy: NBA Store

Why They’ll Love It: Everyone needs their go-to winter hat/ beanie once the temperature drops outside. This one can be that beanie. And as a guy I know this is not an easy find. Fits perfectly with any outfit.

3. Washington Wizards Brown Pilsner Beer Gift Set

Price: Sale -- $99.99

Where to Buy: NBA Store

Why They’ll Love It: Granted this gift is not for everyone and if they do not have other alcohol memorabilia you might want to think twice before getting this gift. If they do, and if they like their adult beverages, then you will strike gold with this gift.

4. Washington Wizards Team Lanyard

Price: Sale: $9.99

Where to Buy: NBC Sports Shop

Why They’ll Love It: Keeping it simple is sometimes the best option. There is never a time you could go wrong with a team lanyard and like unlike other Wizards lanyard options, this one looks pretty good.

5. Washington Wizards Candy Cane Sweater

Price: Sale -- $69.99

Where to Buy: NBC Sports Shop

Why They’ll Love It: Just click on the link and you’ll know why.

6. Men’s Washington Wizards Fanatics Navy Static Long Sleeve

Price: Sale -- $29.99, Regular -- $39.99

Where to Buy: NBA Store

Why They’ll Love It: Brush stroke designs are all of the rage these days and this item is the ideal sports t-shirt that isn’t too much. It’s simple, sleek, and lightweight.

7. Washington Wizards Logo Fathead

Price: Sale -- $69.99

Where to Buy: Fathead

Why They’ll Love It: Fatheads are not just for kids anymore, and if you do have a kid you should check out their full collection. The Wizards Logo Fathead is a requirement for any Wizards’ fan cave out there. And if you are unsure about getting them a poster, this is the best start before you go with a life-size John Wall poster.

8. Washington Wizards Plush Santa Hat

Price: Sale: $14.95

Where to Buy: Rakuten.com

Why They’ll Love It: Not all gifts have to wait until Christmas, here is a chance to get a unique item they you KNOW they will use at least one day out of the year.

9. Washington Wizards New Era Navy 2017 Draft Cap

Price: Sale -- $29.99, Regular -- $39.99

Where to Buy: NBA Store

Why They’ll Love It: Another necessity for any Wizards fan, like the John Wall jersey. Better yet, odds are they do not have this hat yet. If your Wizards fan is a hat wearer, you cannot go wrong with this as their gift.

10. fuboTV Subscription

Price: $19.99/month for 2 months

Where to buy: fubotv.com

Why they'll love it: What better gift than the games themselves? Perfect for the cord-cutting Wizards fan on your list, fuboTV offers 80 streaming channels from sports to news to movies and more. Watch on all of your favorite devices including Roku, Apple TV, Amazon FireTV and AndroidTV or take it anywhere with the fuboTV app, available for both Android and iOS. If you're on the go, take advantage of fuboTV's cloud-based DVR service to record your favorite programs and watch them wherever you'd like. Even better? There are no hidden fees or long-term contracts and you can cancel anytime.