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Ian Mahinmi optimistic he can return by end of Wizards-Hawks playoff series

Ian Mahinmi optimistic he can return by end of Wizards-Hawks playoff series

Once thought to be hoping for a return in the second round, Wizards backup center Ian Mahinmi is now optimistic he can get back before the Wizards-Hawks first round playoff series is over.

With the series locked at 2-2, Mahinmi believes he is not far from coming back from the calf strain that has sidelined him since April 10 when he landed awkwardly on his left leg against the Detroit Pistons. Mahinmi has since had an MRI that revealed swelling. And step by step, he has been working on getting back.

"The plan is for me to come back in this first round. I can't tell you exactly when. But that's the main goal to me is to come back as soon as possible," he said.

Mahinmi said the final steps will include him playing full speed in practice. Lately he has been seen shooting from close range and working on post moves at practice and before games. Mahinmi admitted, though, that he's "still a little bit limited."

[RELATED: Wizards-Hawks Game 5 preview and things to watch]

Head coach Scott Brooks cautioned that Mahinmi still hasn't taken some important steps.

"He hasn't had a shootaround with us. He hasn't had a practice with us. So, he's definitely out tomorrow," Brooks said. "Do I think he can play in Game 6? I doubt it, but you never know."

That said, this is represents good news for the Wizards, who are having trouble staying out of foul trouble and could use some depth, as well as Mahinmi's defensive prowess down low against Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard.

"Progress is good. I'm a little bit ahead of schedule. I've been doing good and getting better every day. I'm on the right track," he said.

Mahinmi 30, missed 51 of the Wizards' 82 regular season games with various knee injuries dating back to preseason when he had surgery to repair a partially torn left meniscus on Oct. 15 during the preseason. He signed a four-year, $64 million free agent deal to join the Wizards in July.

[RELATED: Foul trouble continues to haunt Morris vs. Hawks]

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Wizards’ Isaiah Thomas rips analyst over ‘most millennial thing ever’ Andrew Luck tweet

Wizards’ Isaiah Thomas rips analyst over ‘most millennial thing ever’ Andrew Luck tweet

After Andrew Luck turned the sports world upside down Saturday night when the news broke that he was suddenly retiring from the NFL, Washington Wizards point guard Isaiah Thomas went in on an analyst who called the decision “the most millennial thing ever.”

Thomas knows what it’s like to go through a long rehab process, suffering a hip injury toward the end of the 2016-17 season that forced him to undergo surgery and limited him to just 44 games over the past two years.

At just 29 years old, Luck is hanging up the cleats after a string of medical issues that have plagued him since being drafted No. 1 overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2012 NFL Draft.

The Colts will now be rolling with Jacoby Brissett as their starting quarterback.

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Watch Rui Hachimura’s shutdown block

Watch Rui Hachimura’s shutdown block

Rui Hachimura continued his dominance in international friendlies Saturday as he put up 31 points and five rebounds in a winning effort over Germany.

After a highlight-reel performance in Thursday's loss to Argentina, Hachimura was back at it two days later.

That block at the 37-second mark is just filthy. It would also be goaltending in the NBA, but FIBA rules allow players to touch the ball at pretty much any time once it's made contact with some part of the hoop. Nevertheless, the athleticism to make this play is what stands out.

But Hachimura wasn't finished.

He looks more like Steph Curry leading that breakaway, dribbling behind his back and finishing at the rim himself than a 6-foot-8 forward.

With the international friendly schedule at its end, Japan will tip off the 2020 FIBA World Cup on Sunday, Sept. 1 against Turkey. After a matchup with the Czech Republic, Hachimura and Japan will take on his future NBA opponents when they face the United States on Sept. 5.

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