Gafford to return from injury vs. Hawks


The Wizards will welcome starting center Daniel Gafford back from his two-game absence on Monday night when they play at the Atlanta Hawks, the team announced.

Gafford, 23, was out briefly after suffering a right quad contusion in a win against the Celtics last Wednesday. He hurt himself on a collision with Boston forward Jaylen Brown.

The Wizards won both of the games Gafford missed, beating the Hawks on Thursday and then the Celtics again on Saturday. But they will certainly be glad to have him back, as without Gafford they were left with one center, Montrezl Harrell, with Thomas Bryant out until December as he recovers from an ACL injury.

Gafford started the Wizards' first four games this season. The team has their best start in 16 years, at 5-1. If they win on Monday, they will have their best start to a season since 1974, a span of 47 years.

Gafford is averaging 8.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. While those stats have been skewed downward by a small sample size and him leaving midgame against the Celtics, he has already shown improvement after receiving a three-year contract extension the day before the NBA regular season began.