Antawn Jamison was talking to some of his teammates after practice on Sunday and did something that should serve as a positive sign: He lifted his right arm and starting pointing backward with his thumb. It was a pretty impressive sight for anyone who saw Jamison leaving the court with his right arm hanging only a few days before.
Jamison remains out for the rest of the preseason after suffering a shoulder subluxation last Wednesday but he will travel with the team to Atlanta and Philadelphia. He will be evaluated again later this week, but Coach Flip Saunders said Jamison has made a lot of progress.
"It's encouraging. He's able to lift it up and move it and not have a lot of pain," Saunders said. "We'll see when he gets it looked at again. We just want to make sure we get it right the first time. We don't want to take a chance on things."
The Wizards have already had a few players go down since training camp began, with Javaris Crittenton out with a left foot injury, Jamison out with his shoulder injury and Haywood missing two games with an ankle injury. Haywood is expected to be back against the Hawks on Monday, but Caron Butler said he doesn't feel as if the Wizards have been hit with the bad luck stick -- yet.
"Antawn should be back shortly. So it's not as bad as it could be," Butler said. "We're fortunate of that. Injuries happen. I'd rather have them happen now than at the end of the season like they normally do [for the Wizards]. I'm not nervous at all. I'm still excited, optimistic and looking forward to the season."
Saunders will start Andray Blatche in the absence of Jamison and said that Mike Miller will get the start at shooting guard in Atlanta on Monday after he scored 24 points and made 5 of 5 three-pointers against Cleveland.
"He does the little things and you always have to guard him, because he has the ability to shoot the ball. You can't leave him alone," Saunders said of Miller. "He plays well without the ball. He'll let the game come to him. He has a high basketball IQ. I like the idea now [of starting Miller]. DeShawn has played really well for us defensively, and given us some things off the bench."
I asked Saunders if he planned on starting Miller on opening night against Dallas and he said, "We'll see how it goes. I don't know. I don't know."
Nick Young started out pretty hot this preseason, scoring 20 points on 8-for-17 shooting (47 percent) the first two games. But in the past three preseason games, Young has missed 19 of his past 24 shots and scored just 15 points. Young hasn't started since the preseason opener against Memphis and said he has struggled to find his rhythm coming off the bench. "It's kind of hard," Young said. "I'm trying to get it going like Mike [Miller] did. Every player goes through that. [Miller] got it going. I hope it's my turn."