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Winless Wizards expect to have Nene against Blazers

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Winless Wizards expect to have Nene against Blazers

For a team looking to cling to any positive developments, the Wizards saw two of them Tuesday when veteran center Nene and veteran point guard Shaun Livingston participated in a full practice at Verizon Center.

Both players sat out Monday night’s blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs -- Nene with soreness in his left foot and Livingston with a bruised right shoulder. Both are expected to be in the lineup Wednesday night when the 0-12 Wizards host the 6-8 Portland Trail Blazers.

The Wizards will not have forward Trevor Booker [right knee sprain] for the third straight game and guard John Wall [stress injury to right knee] will sit out for the 13th straight game.

Booker took some soft hook shots following Tuesday’s practice and Wall participated in a spirited shooting contest with teammates Cartier Martin, Bradley Beal and Martell Webster.

Wizards coach Randy Wittman would not give a timetable for either player’s return.

“I’ve gotten to the point with all of our injuries that I just tell them to come get me when you’re ready,” he said. “That’s all I can do.

[“Booker] hasn’t practiced. He’s not going to show up and I’m going to stick him in a game [Wednesday]. He’s missed some time, but he’s got to show me he can get up and down the floor in the manner that Book has to play.”

At the time Wall was diagnosed with a stress injury to his right knee cap, his return was tentatively scheduled for eight weeks. That would have been on Black Friday. Wall seems to be progressing and is now launching himself into the air for jump shots.

Wittman said Wall has not yet run the floor in practice and until he does he can’t give a projected date for a return.

“Progress is being made,” Wittman said. “No setbacks. Nothing has come back [from doctors] in the last couple of weeks. It’s been status quo, always been a step forward, so that’s a good sign.”

The Wizards are hoping the return of Nene can result in their first victory of the season. In his two games since returning from plantar fasciitis the 6-foot-11, 250-pound big man has averaged a team-high 15.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.

Nene logged 29 minutes in the Wizards’ double-overtime loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday and was forced to sit out Monday night’s loss to the Spurs. Livingston was also a casualty of Saturday’s loss to Charlotte. He injured his right shoulder and jarred loose a tooth when he dived for a loose ball.

“It was a freak play,” he said. “I just ate the ground, banged my mouth up and kind of went down on my shoulder as well. A double whammy.”

Livingston said his front tooth is still loose and he’ll likely wear a mouth guard Wednesday night.  

“Another elbow or something and it might come out,” he said.

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

The 2018 NBA offseason in just three weeks has become one of the wildest summers in the league's history between LeBron James signing with the Lakers, and all the characters that followed him, to DeMarcus Cousins surprising everyone to sign with the Golden State Warriors, to Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Raptors.

As crazy as it all has been, two teams in the Eastern Conference stand out for so far doing very little, either by choice or circumstance. The Celtics and Sixers, the two teams most see as the favorites in the East, appear at least so far to be running it back with the same group of players.

This appears to be the Celtics' intention. After overhauling their roster last summer, they clearly see an opportunity to take a step forward as-is. Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals and will return Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving from injury. With James gone to the West, they can improve significanly just by keeping it all together.

Boston re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes. Their biggest addition this summer so far has been their first round pick, Robert Williams.

The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, didn't appear to plan on doing it this way. They wanted James and missed out. They reportedly had interest in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but both went elsewhere. There are no stars left to sign in free agency and the trade market may be drying up.

Philly made some minor moves like trades for Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. They may also have a deal for Kyle Korver in the works. They also had two first round picks in Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.

There's a chance the Sixers got better than people think, as many of the moves they made seem smart. But they didn't reel in a big fish and will probably come back for the 2018-19 season with a team very similar to the one that made the second round of the playoffs this spring.

The fact the Celtics and Sixers may stand pat is probably a good thing for the rest of the East. Both teams may improve naturally if they are healthier and if their young players continue to ascend. But neither made a game-changing addition, one that would solidify either as an unstoppable superteam in the conference. 

The West is overloaded with title contenders and All-NBA players. The East, meanwhile, is much more open and it may end up staying that way mainly because Boston and Philly have been quiet so far this summer.

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 

 

RELATED LINKS: 

John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime?