During the Washington Wizards‘ last game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, big man Nene Hilario hit knees with Spencer Hawes, causing Nene to leave for the remainder of the game. Coming right after the trade deadline, this is the worst timing for an injury in Washington.
On Monday morning, Nene had a MRI and league sources stated that he will miss about 4-6 weeks for the Wizards. This is an extremely lucky injury. It would be too devastating to Washington’s efforts thus far to have Nene miss the postseason.
Losing him is a gigantic loss for Washington. He was averaging 14.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He is a big part of their frontcourt and his presence is important on both sides of the court.
Even though he is injured, Washington should not worry. The team has played well together and worked extremely hard. If the Wizards can figure out a proper bench rotation they should be okay. Nene’s minutes can be divided up between Trevor Booker or Kevin Seraphin. Both players are fully capable of taking on Nene’s role, while also taking care of their own. Seraphin currently has a better shooting percentage than Nene and he could blossom into a nice starter.
For Washington, depth is a luxury it does not have. Fortunately though, the Wizards have one more option. The team is allowed to sign a free agent before March 1, who will still be active for their playoff roster.
There are a few options currently on the free market who would expand Washington’s depth and strengthen its rotation in light of Nene’s injury. Regardless, the Wizards should play a few games before the team makes any signings because I believe Washington can still take care of business. The team just cannot begin to use his injury as an excuse. Washington must continue to focus on grabbing a top four seed in the Eastern Conference.