Wizards forward Nene is expected to miss the next six weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee. Nene had an MRI Feb. 24, which revealed the severity of injury he had sustained Feb. 23 in Cleveland, a Wizards 96-83 win against the Cavaliers.
Nene went down during the third quarter after banging his knee and did not return. If he is able to return within the six-week time frame, he will be back in the lineup with about 1-2 weeks left during the regular season.
The Wizards are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season, a task that will be more difficult without Nene. Washington is a different team without him in the lineup. Since the Wizards acquired Nene from the Denver Nuggets in March 2012, they are 60-61 with him in the lineup and 8-34 without him. This season, the Wizards are 1-6 without Nene, who missed time early this season with soreness in his right Achilles.
Nene is averaging 14.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists during 30.1 minutes per game for the Wizards this season. Washington will need to rely more heavily on center Kevin Seraphin, forward Trevor Booker and newly reactivated forward Al Harrington to pick up the slack. The Wizards also have the option of signing another player. They have an available roster sport after trading forward Jan Vesely to the Denver Nuggets for guard Andre Miller, and sending guard Eric Maynor to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Some of the available big men the Wizards are expected to look at are former Wizards forward Antawn Jamison and Drew Gooden. Jamison spent six seasons with Washington before being traded to Cleveland in 2010. On Feb. 20, the Los Angeles Clippers traded Jamison to the Atlanta Hawks, who released him Feb. 21.
Gooden, 32, appears to be the front-runner. He last played during the 2012-13 season, for the Milwaukee Bucks, and has career averages of 11.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. An 11-year veteran, Gooden has played for nine different teams during his career. Gooden was a member of the Wizards for about four days when the Dallas Mavericks traded him to Washington Feb. 13, 2010. The Wizards shipped Gooden to the Clippers Feb. 17, and he never appeared in a game for the Wizards.