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As if matters couldn't get any worse on the injury front, the Wizards may have to make do down the stretch without Antonio Daniels.  

Daniels missed yesterday's game after his back tightened up following Solomon Jones' hard foul in the win over Atlanta Friday night.  According to the Times, he should be back for the playoffs, but he probably won't play much in the final two games of the season.

Daniels said yesterday he was not sure when he'd return and Coach Eddie Jordan said his most optimistic hope is that Daniels "gets a few minutes" in the final two regular season games.


If there was one tiny positive from yesterday's day, it's that Donnell Taylor, who was playing the point in AD's stead, did play decently.  He hit a couple nice shots, made a couple good defensive plays, and showed quite a bit of energy.  He seems to be a better defender than AD, and I liked how he was picking up Kirk Hinrich full-court.

But for all that energy, the problem with Taylor remains the same that it has always been, dating back to the preseason.  He simply has no concept of how to run an offense.  He's a small combo guard that has no idea how to execute a pick and roll, and has no idea how to distribute the ball the right way.  This isn't a huge deal when Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler are playing, because Taylor won't have the ball in his hands much.  But with them out, the only way for the offense to succeed is for it to become more traditional, with a true facilitator playing the point.  Daniels can facilitate.  Taylor, simply, cannot.

Not to mention that AD's injury kills the guard depth.  The only healthy guards the Wizards have now are Taylor, DeShawn Stevenson, and Roger Mason.  Mike Hall and Jarvis Hayes would have to slide into the backcourt, and neither is quick enough to keep up with quick guards.  That will force Taylor and Mason to play too many minutes, and neither is capable.

So let's hope that AD recovers as quickly as possible.  Otherwise, the Wizards are going to struggle to hold onto the sixth spot, and may have to face those same Bulls in the first round of the playoffs.  

Update [2007-4-16 16:24:51 by Pradamaster]: Finally, some good news, from the Bog.

A lot better. Yesterday Antonio Daniels couldn't run without severe pain. Today he could. He could run a bit, he could shoot, he could change directions. Will he play tomorrow? "I don't know," he said. "We'll see." What did his gut say, he was asked. "My gut always tells me to play," he said. "Always. But sometimes I don't know if it's better to use your gut or use your head. So, we'll see." "I think just watching him today and working out, he looks good," Eddie Jordan said. "And we really need him. So if he's ready to go we'll play him and we'll watch his minutes."
Hopefully, that means he'll be fine for the playoffs.