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C.J. Miles' extended absence due to injury is tough blow for Wizards

C.J. Miles' extended absence due to injury is tough blow for Wizards

WASHINGTON -- The Wizards revealed some bad news on Wednesday, as forward C.J. Miles underwent surgery on his left wrist and now has no timetable to return.

Miles had a ligament repaired in his left wrist, which is his shooting hand. The 32-year-old will now have an extended absence after appearing in only 10 games for the Wizards. Miles had already missed four straight games due to the injury and that was after he sat for the first five games of the year following foot surgery he had in July.

Given Miles' contract expires after this season, he may have played his final game for Washington if his timetable ends up being four months or more. The Wizards traded for Miles in July in a deal that sent Dwight Howard to the Memphis Grizzlies. Just like Howard last year, Miles started the season hurt, played a handful of games and then suffered a long-term injury.

Miles's injury happened on Nov. 26 in a game against the Denver Nuggets when he fell to the floor taking an offensive foul. He had an MRI, then saw a specialist on Monday for a second opinion.

With Miles now out long-term, the Wizards will have to rely on younger players at the small forward spot. They have some depth, but little experience to lean on.

Troy Brown Jr. will likely see extended time at the three, though Isaac Bonga just took his place in the starting lineup. Both are second-year players.

Miles' injury could also open the door for rookie Admiral Schofield and possibly two-way wing Garrison Mathews once he has recovered from a stress reaction injury. The Wizards could also play Jordan McRae, who is primarily a guard, at the three in smaller lineups.

The Wizards also have some bigger players that could slide over. Rookie Rui Hachimura has spent time at the three this season and Davis Bertans can play there in a pinch.

Miles was set to be a rotation mainstay for the Wizards this season, but his injury could hurt them more in the big picture. Given his long track record as a shooter off the bench, a healthy season could have made him a valuable trade piece come the deadline in February. In a best-case scenario, he could have netted them a future draft pick.

Perhaps that can still happen, as the Wizards have not provided specifics on when he can get back. But at this point, it does not seem likely he will be returning any time soon.

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Pelicans' star rookie Zion Williamson out vs. Wizards

Pelicans' star rookie Zion Williamson out vs. Wizards

The Wizards will have to wait until next year to face Zion Williamson for the first time.

The Pelicans' star rookie will sit out on Friday night as the Wizards face New Orleans at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Williamson is resting on the second night of a back-to-back. The Pelicans played the Kings on Thursday night.

The Wizards also missed Williamson last July in the Summer League after he suffered a knee injury in his first game in Las Vegas. They also had one of their games this season against the Pelicans cancelled due to the NBA's long hiatus because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Someday, the Wizards will see Williamson and when they do, it will be interesting to watch him match up with Rui Hachimura, who was in the same draft class and plays the same position. Williamson was the No. 1 overall pick and Hachimura was picked ninth.

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For now, the Wizards will battle a Pelicans team headlined by Brandon Ingram, Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball.

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As he prepares to back up Bradley Beal, Jerome Robinson improving in key area

As he prepares to back up Bradley Beal, Jerome Robinson improving in key area

Jerome Robinson has been one of the most pleasant surprises on the Wizards roster so far during their time in Orlando. With increased minutes, Robinson has been able to play more freely and not wonder when All-Star Bradley Beal was at the scorer's table ready to check-in and take his place.

Through four games, Robinson is averaging 17 points while shooting 46 percent from the field and 36 percent from three on 6.3 attempts per game. His 55 effective field goal percentage is second only to Thomas Bryant among the Wizards' regular rotation members.

Most noteworthy has been Robinson's overall consistency, as that has eluded him so far in his career. In four games at Disney World, Robinson has reached double-digits in scoring each time. He had never scored 10 or more in consecutive games previously.

"That's something that we've talked about with Jerome and we're working on with him," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I like his approach. In order to have a consistent game, you've gotta have a consistent approach going into a game. I think he does a pretty good job. As a young player, he has a pretty nice routine that he sticks with."

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Producing on a regular basis next season could be difficult in the role Robinson is expected to serve. He will be behind Beal, who plays a lot of minutes (he led the league last year) and who holds a very large share of duties on offense. Brooks mentioned the chance Robinson plays some small forward next season, just to make sure he gets on the floor.

Backing up Beal is important, as the Wizards know full well. They have had some trouble finding a solution at that spot on their depth chart. Those personnel issues may say as much about the difficulty of the role as the players they have tried in fulfilling it.

Brooks knows from experience as a player and coach how tough it can be in general to thrive as a bench player.

"You have to be able to do it. To stay in this league and stay in rotations and get consistent playing time, you've gotta perform consistently," Brooks said. "That's the hardest thing. That's why you see a lot of role players get moved around and role players that don't end up staying for a long time. It's hard to stay in this league if you're not consistent."

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Robinson, 23, said he has been in contact with Beal throughout his time in Orlando. Beal has told him to be aggressive looking for his own shot. So far, he's been able to do that. Robinson is averaging 12.5 shots per game in Orlando after taking only 6.2 shots per game in previous 13 games with the team since coming over in a February trade.

Scoring, though, isn't necessarily what Robinson will need to focus on. He has one of the higher ceilings defensively of any player on the Wizards. His physical defense on the perimeter stands out, partly because that isn't a forté for many of their players.

Robinson is committed to getting better on that end of the floor.

"If you can't guard your guy or help the next man, you won't play. Defense is huge for me. From a personal standpoint, I would love to be All-Defense someday," he said.

Point guard Ish Smith has been around long enough to spend plenty of time both as a starter and a reserve. He understands the challenge of playing on the bench, and has even backed up stars. But for him, the best approach is to keep it simple and just strive to leave the game to the starters in a better place than it was when he checked in.

Smith is seeing good signs from Robinson and believes he can make the most of what will be a very different role next season than he is serving in Orlando.

"I know for Jerome, the consistency he's playing with by knocking down shots in Orlando, he's going to do the same [in D.C.]. He just needs to continue the way he's playing and his confidence will grow with each shot," Smith said. 

"So, he'll be fine. Just don't worry about the 'I'm playing behind a star, so don't let me mess up' kind of mentality."

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