Winless Wizards need to get healthy fast

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Photo - Rob Carr/Getty Images
Washington guards Shaun Livingston, left, and John Wall missed Monday's game. The Wizards expect Livingston back Wednesday, but there's no timetable for Wall's return.
Rob Carr/Getty Images Washington guards Shaun Livingston, left, and John Wall missed Monday's game. The Wizards expect Livingston back Wednesday, but there's no timetable for Wall's return.
Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

Shaun Livingston hates mouth guards. But he's got to get one.

The recently acquired Wizards point guard knocked one of his teeth loose after his face hit the court when he dove for a loose ball last weekend against Charlotte. He also sprained his right shoulder, which persuaded Washington coach Randy Wittman to leave him out of Monday's blowout loss to San Antonio.

The Wizards expect to welcome back Livingston on Wednesday against Portland (6-8), along with Nene, who also sat out against the Spurs. At 0-12 and counting, they need every healthy body possible.

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Trail Blazers at Wizards
When » Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Where » Verizon Center
TV » CSN

"It was a freak play," Livingston said. "I dove on the ground. I probably would've benefitted by not diving more than I did. But I just ate the ground, banged my mouth up and kind of went down on my shoulder as well. A double whammy."

Things had been proceeding in Livingston's favor since he was signed by Washington on Nov. 15. It took only three games to make his way into the starting lineup, a far cry from being cut by the Houston Rockets barely three weeks before at the regular season roster deadline.

A report by Yahoo! Sports said that Livingston "often outplayed" Jeremy Lin during Rockets training camp. But Houston still let him go due to financial concerns.

"I'd be lying to you if I said it wasn't [disappointed]," Livingston said. "But in the same sense, it's the business of basketball."

A self-proclaimed "rhythm player," the mounting losses that have greeted Livingston's arrival in Washington has made his transition difficult, as has the continued lineup rotation in the past five games. He had 10 points and four assists in his second game, and he was 3-for-4 from the field against the Bobcats, but Randy Wittman left him on the bench during the double overtime loss. Even though Livingston is still relatively new, the burden of helping the Wizards try to snap out of their losing ways is just the same.

"I might not feel it as much, just because I haven't been here from day one," he said. "But I'm still in the locker room with the team and so their losses are my losses."

Wittman opened the floor to his players prior to practice on Tuesday, welcoming their input on the source of the team's struggles.

"I always want a dialogue with my players that ... if they see things differently that can be done then they've got to speak up," Wittman said.

Bradley Beal said Martell Webster stepped up while the team was practicing and told Wittman he shouldn't accept the blame.

"It's a good thing we're doing that because it gets it off our chest," Beal said. "We're holding stuff in and sometimes you feel like, well, you can't [challenge] the coach. You don't feel comfortable saying it to him. But we actually got the opportunity to tell him what we need to do and how we need to do it, basically, and I think we're doing a great job of getting that out."

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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Craig Stouffer

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner