Second-year forward Rui Hachimura is expected to make his return from left knee soreness sometime this week, according to Wizards head coach Scott Brooks. But as he misses his fourth consecutive game on Sunday night, 28-year-old rookie Anthony Gill will start in his place.
Hachimura had a workout on Saturday that included 5-on-5 scrimmaging against assistant coaches. That represented a solid step forward for the former ninth overall pick.
"It’s definitely trending in the right direction and improving day-by-day. He will definitely be back soon," Brooks said.
Brooks indicated Hachimura could return as soon as Monday night when the Wizards host the Spurs. If not then, Wednesday's game against the Lakers could be the one.
Hachimura has been out ever since he collided knees with another player on April 17 in the Wizards' win over the Pistons. Brooks said he will be wearing padding on his right knee whenever he comes back.
In the meantime, the Wizards are giving a host of bench players opportunities and Gill made the most of his on Friday night in a win over the Thunder as he scored nine points and pulled in 10 rebounds. That was a breakout performance of sorts as Gill had rarely seen the floor previously this season.
But he played so well against Oklahoma City that he was rewarded with the second start of his NBA career.
"Kevin Love is a handful down low on his post-ups. He gives us more strength," Brooks said of Gill.
"He’s been working every day and preparing for an opportunity every day."
The Wizards are aiming to win their eighth straight game on Sunday night, which would be their longest winning streak in 20 years.