BROOKLYN -- The somewhat surprise appearance of Otto Porter, who had missed the previous three games with a deep left thigh bruise, was brief but needed for the Wizards. But what it means for the bigger picture is unclear.
"The starters are playing good right now," Porter said. "Whatever it takes to win games. ... I'm just trying to find my way back, getting back in shape."
Watching rookie Kelly Oubre make his fourth consecutive start, Porter came off the bench to add seven points in 19 minutes in Saturday's 111-96 win at the Brooklyn Nets. Oubre had 12 points, six rebounds, one steal and one block on top of his exceptional defense. Coach Randy Wittman credits the uptick by the Wizards on the defensive end has produced this four-game winning streak and Oubre's presence in the starting lineup along with Garrett Temple has changed the tone.
So why did it take so long to return? Porter actually took a knee from Dwight Howard in his thigh on Dec. 9 but played through it. Porter played every night of a four-game road trip, including when he scored a career-high 28 points vs. the Dallas Mavericks but the injury soon grew worse.
"It was a deep bruise so overnight it was treated," said Porter, who had to be pulled against the San Antonio Spurs as Oubre took over to set a career-high with 18 points. "I guess a lot of the liquid from the bruise escaped and (went) down to my knee so my knee was kind of swollen. I couldn't run or walk or anything like that."
As his regulars get healthy, Wittman will have some tough decisions to make with his rotations. Oubre has made 8 of 10 three-point shots in his four starts. Otto is shooting well under 30% from deep as he went 1-for-3 in his return.
Keep Oubre over Porter, Jared Dudley over Drew Gooden (calf), Garrett Temple over Bradley Beal (leg), Kris Humphries over Nene (calf) or Jarell Eddie over Gary Neal (back)? And exactly where does Alan Anderson (ankle) fit in?
"They got some decisions to make," Wittman quipped. "It's easy for me. I'm going to play the guys that are going to play (best)."