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Jared Dudley practices, puts timetable on return to Wizards

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Jared Dudley practices, puts timetable on return to Wizards

Jared Dudley had his first full practice with the Wizards on Wednesday, and he's optimistic that he'll be back on the court before the preseason ends and certain that he'll be ready for the start of the regular season Oct. 28.

"I've been like Lance Armstrong for the last month just doing bike work the whole time so on the court it's going to take a little bit," said Dudley, who had lower back surgery in July to repair a bulging disk. I look at this as my training camp. I got a week ... Hopefully I can get the last two preseason games. You get another week and then you have the season."

Dudley had been doing non-contact drills and last week he began to do partial contact. The key, of course, is not having setbacks. A career small forward, he's expected to play more as a "stretch" power forward for the Wizards in coach Randy Wittman's new system. Drew Gooden is the other option in the rotation. Kris Humphries still is trying to develop three-point range to become one.

"Good thing about it is playing the four, me being a natural three, it's easier for me to guard fours," Dudley said. "I don't have to be in tip top (shape). I'm not running around guarding Kevin Durant (instead) it's a backup power forward.

The Wizards can use another body. Alan Anderson had surgery on Tuesday to remove a bone fragment from his left ankle and the length of his absence has yet to be determined. Martell Webster is bothered by a right hip strain and not practicing. Kelly Oubre is a rookie who is still learning. 

"Got a little tired but overall I thought I played well," Dudley said of practice. "For now it's about getting in shape. I have no pain in my back or anything so I'm good to go."

MORE WIZARDS: Wizards' vets say 'lot of work to do' for Wall, Beal

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'The holidays mean more,' which is why John Wall gives back this time of year

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NBCSW

'The holidays mean more,' which is why John Wall gives back this time of year

Locals who showed up to Bright Beginnings in Southeast Washington last week didn't need to trot all the way up the hill and into the heated tent to see Wizards All-Star John Wall. With icy rain pouring down, Wall stood on the back of a box truck, handing out turkeys to those in need, just days before Thanksgiving.

Wall has long favored charitable causes that hit close to home for him. That includes a backpack and school supplies giveaway in the summer. He himself was once a young kid who showed up to school unprepared.

The holidays used to be a difficult time for Wall, who grew up in poverty in Raleigh, NC. He knows how much it means to simply have a Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.

That connection is why he shows up every year to distribute turkeys, hoping to make the holiday season a little easier on those who need some help.

"The holidays mean more," Wall said. "Thanksgiving, Christmas, they mean more because it's the time where kids are like 'why I ain't get nothing, why don't I have anything under the tree?'

"I know how I was brought up and where I came from. My mom had to work multiple jobs to try to provide for me and my sisters and brothers. It can be a tough time and I'm in the position where I have the opportunity to give back but also be there and be involved."

Wall has worked with Bright Beginnings for years now. The program helps families with young children who are homeless, in shelters or transitional housing.

Wall has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the initiative and lends his time to events like the turkey giveaway. But according to Bright Beginnings executive director Dr. Marla Dean, Wall's involvement doesn't stop there.

"It is always a great day when John stops by," she said. "He's family to us. He comes in, he stops by to check on us. He checks on families. Today is very important because this is a tough season for people who are less fortunate."

Dean said Wall and others gave out 500 turkeys that afternoon. After handing out food, Wall took pictures and signed autographs with children.

This is an interesting time for Wall. His Wizards are struggling and last week tensions boiled over in a now-infamous practice.

Wall stood and surveyed the room at the turkey giveaway, recognizing the cause he was supporting as much bigger than the game of basketball.

"Whatever ups and downs you go through throughout a season is the course of life. But these types of events around the holidays, that's what cheers you up. They're always going through probably more than we are going through," he said.

"When I have an opportunity to put a smile on their face or uplift them through their problems and take that burden off their back, why not do it?"

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Scott Brooks ready to put Wizards drama in the past

Scott Brooks ready to put Wizards drama in the past

A 24-point comeback to beat the Clippers is just what the Wizards needed. Entering the Tuesday night home game, there was no hotter NBA topic than the Wizards' locker room tension.

In the early going, the Wizards' on-court struggles continued. Washington trailed by 19 at the end of the first quarter and saw the deficit grow to 24 midway through the second. With Scott Brooks and his players peering into the abyss, they took a stand.

The Wizards outscored the Clippers by ten in the third quarter and 16 in the fourth. The entire team responded when they needed it most. Coach Brooks is hoping the pre-Thanksgiving victory is exactly what will put the locker room drama in the past.

"Everybody said their piece and you know, it's time to move on and it's time to play better basketball," the head coach said during his weekly appearance on 106.7 The Fan's the Sports Junkies, which simulcasts on NBC Sports Washington.

For as matter-of-fact as Brooks wants to be about the practice incident, he still admits that the team is not even close to satisfied at the moment. Despite claiming that these sorts of blowups have happened every single season, the head coach admits this team has a long way to go.

"We're frustrated," Brooks admits. "Lets face it, we're not happy where we are. Everything is born out of frustration."

It's entirely reasonable that the team would be frustrated, as the Wizards are sitting at 6-11, good for 10th in the Eastern Conference. They'll need to find a way to pull together to make up several spots in the standings, and Brooks appears optimistic on that front.

"I think the guys need to move on. Hopefully they did."