Tuesday update

Caron Butler went through shootaround this morning and while he won't play tonight, the fact that he woke up feeling good and was able to get back on the court with teammates today is a very good sign that his left hip is feeling better. If you recall, he also practiced back on Feb. 18 but woke up the next morning with stiffness and pain, couldn't go through shootaround for that night's game against the Knicks and had not practiced again until yesterday.

The Wizards host the Bucks tonight in what is a very strange game for me to break down. On one hand, this is a team the Wiz neat to beat if they want to hold onto the sixth seed and put themselves in a good position for a rough stretch coming up that includes games against Cleveland, Atlanta, Orlando, Detroit and the five-game West Coast roadie. On the other, the Wizards are capable of losing to a team like the Bucks with Butler, who played the game of his life and scored 40 points in an OT loss in beertown back on Jan. 27 (the night he got hurt).

Anyway, every game is interesting, you have to give them that. Interesting piece on Milwaukee Andrew Bogut in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

On a somewhat sports related note: did you read about the five U.S. soldiers who were killed in Baghdad yesterday? Whenever news like that breaks, a part of me panics because one of my best friends is serving over there right now. His name is Sven Olson and we played football together back in the day at St. Olaf College. Anyway, Sven is one of the biggest sports fans in the world and when we talk, it's almost always about sports. We're both huge Minnesota Twins fans. Yesterday, after reading about the incident, I frantically e-mailed him for an update.
His reply says something about the life of a solider in a war zone and also says something about the importance otherwise meaningless games can have on us.

With his permission:

Yeah, I'm good but I can't say the same for a few dudes in my unit. The action usually picks up in the summertime but I'm hoping to avoid it myself. The good news is that they are talking about bringing us home in November - three months earlier than originally scheduled. So, I have my mid-tour leave in Sept/Oct (When Sven and I usually meet somewhere for a Vikings road game) which lasts a month afterwhich I should only have one month left in Baghdad. And that's good cuz I'm losing my (freaking) mind out here. Besides patrols, all I do is lift weights and do cardio workouts to ease the stress. I'm getting in some damn good shape though and that should certainly up the quality of talent I'm bringing (to the ladies). Anyway, take it easy and let's hope those Twins can give us something to cheer about in what has been a pretty down Minnesota sports year.
- Sven

I'll save my thoughts/opinions on this war but I really, really want to see my boy come home safe. We have a lot of beers to drink and sporting events to see before it's all said and done.

By Ivan Carter |  March 11, 2008; 1:51 PM ET
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Great post Ivan. It puts EVERYTHING in perspective doesn't it? I don't know your friend and I don't know anyone serving in Iraq but I pray he makes it back safe so you guys can have your beer. Keep up the good work with the articles your bring us Wiz fans, they are quite entertaining and informative.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 11, 2008 2:22 PM

Excellent post Ivan!! Puts everything in perspective when hearing from your friend who's putting his life on the line everyday for his country. Keep up the daily updates which are a great way for me to stay in the loop on the Wiz. As a true fan, I won't give up hope until the Wiz are eliminated. My prayers are with your friend returning safely so you can enjoy that beer.

Posted by: wizfan89 | March 11, 2008 2:33 PM

Time for the troops to come back home and let the Iraqi gov pick up some slack. I read yesterday in the Post that we are still footing the bill even though the Iraqi oil should net a 50 billion profit this year. There's a whole lot wrong with that picture. Sven's story is a clear reminder that as much angst as we go through with this Wiz team and injuries, sports really mean very little in the grand scheme. The guys that should be getting paid the millions are the ones dodging bullets and IED's....(and let the Iraqis pay the luxury tax)

Posted by: mark | March 11, 2008 2:33 PM

Good article. Any updates on Agent Zero?

Posted by: Matt | March 11, 2008 2:43 PM

Agent Zero won't be back until Caron gets back. He is ducking the responsibility of leading the team.

Posted by: Bullets70 | March 11, 2008 2:55 PM

>>The good news is that they are talking about bringing us home in November - three months earlier than originally scheduled.

Timed perfectly with election 2008.

Anyways Mark, the Iraqi oil is Iraq's alone. The U.S. shouldn't get a dime of it. Iraq certainly didn't ask anyone to invade and occupy their country.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 11, 2008 2:58 PM

Wow, Ivan and Steve Buckhantz praised the coaches?? That's a stunner!

Posted by: | March 11, 2008 01:23 PM

Let's not forget that other (Local AND non-local) broadcasters, journalists and analysts have praised Eddie Jordan for the job he had done this year. Here is a list of the ones that I've heard (or read) so far this year:

Charles Barkley (TNT)
Kenny Smith (TNT)
John Thompson (Former Georgetown Coach, commentator for TNT)
Ernie Johnson (TNT)
David Aldridge (Philadelphia Inquirer, TNT)
Tim Legler (ESPN)
Michael Wilbon (Washington Post)
Adrian Wojnarowski (Yahoo Sports)
Kealin Culbreath (Hoopsworld)

And those are only the ones I remember...

Posted by: Rook | March 11, 2008 2:58 PM

Sounds like the Wiz will be ready to rule by the end of the month.

With a little bit of planning, the Wiz could go into the playoffs with a full complement of healthy players.

The talent that EG has put together is as good as any in the league.

How far will EJ take them? What approach? High-octane offense or a defensive focus? Will Blatche drop to the 4th or 5th big man slot when CB and ET return? Will Young drop to the 5th guard slot when GA returns?

Should be interesting...

Posted by: Izman | March 11, 2008 3:16 PM

I agree completely that their oil is their oil. I also agree that we went in there for all of the wrong reasons. I just think that they should start paying for the reconstruction of their own country since they obviously have the revenue from THEIR oil.
Off topic I know but... Lets imagine for a second that troops from 'Invadistan' came into our country because they hated our presidents policies and viewed us as a threat. They put our prez on trial and start killing the troops for trying to defend the country. Guess what that would make us when we try to defend our homes? Insurgents ! God Bless not only our troops but all of the the innocents caught up in this 'war'.
OK. no more Iraq talk for me. Go Wiz. Let's kick some Buck arse tonight.

Posted by: mark | March 11, 2008 3:20 PM


You brought me out of my lurker status for this one, dude. We'll be prayer that Sven comes home safe. My Dad did two tours in 'Nam back in the day. Those were two long years my friend. You've brought us all back to reality. Thx

Posted by: NiceWizKid | March 11, 2008 3:31 PM

Thanks for sharing your friend's message, Ivan.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 11, 2008 3:33 PM

Rook, you can also add Peter Vecsey, Andre Aldridge, Rick Kamla.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 11, 2008 3:38 PM

Just one common sense thought about Iraq, would the people of West Virgina tolorate a MUSLIM Army setting up shop there like they never planned to leave?

Great news about Caron, did Etan or Arenas participate in shoot around? Sounds like all three guys could be getting close.

Izman, I'd think that Blatche would stay ahead of Etan in Jordan's rotations. One change it might make is Eddie might be willing to put Blatche and Haywood on the floor at the same time some. I think he's concerned about one or both getting in foul trouble.

Jamison, Songaila and Blatche have carried the load pretty well at forward, will Eddie consider using any big lineups with Butler at guard. Or sometimes going with Butler Jamison and Blatche up front?

There sure will be alot of decisions to make, with the playoffs looming Eddie will start to go more with his Vets. I think Blatche has earned a spot in this year's playoff rotation. Pecherov, McGuire, and to a lesser extent Young will have to watch and learn.

Posted by: GM | March 11, 2008 3:47 PM

Certainly all the reasons for going into Iraq did not turn out to correct but some were. Just a reminder that this current war is a continuation of the First Gulf War because the principle reason the U.S. had the authority to go into Iraq was because Iraq repeatedly violated the terms of the peace treaty it negotiated to half the first Gulf War. Fears that Hussein was reconstituting his weapons program (a stance he maintained until the very end -- his bluff was called and he busted) also played a role but Iraq was not living up its agreement.

As for Iraqi Oil -- it is correct that it is there oil and the fact that the U.S. is not getting that revenue shows that the people who argued that this war was about the oil were completely wrong. The fact that there is oil there makes the region strategic important and provides a reason for the U.S. to try to create stability but the U.S. did not and does not seek to control Iraqi oil.

I will say this though -- the Iraqi government should be supplying the money used to pay insurgents to lay down their weapons and to stop killing innocent Iraqis or targeting U.S. troops. That should not be U.S. money.

Lastly, and I did not intend to write this long, but the unfortunate reality is that U.S. troops are going to be in Iraq for a while, regardless of who is elected president. The promises to bring the troops home in 6 months or even a year are completely hollow.

Last time I talk about Iraq on this blog -- go Wiz.

Posted by: Chad | March 11, 2008 4:11 PM

I think Caron plays on Thursday against the Cavs. Seems like Caron is good to go, they just want to give him a few extras days or rest and rehab to make sure

I think Gil will be ready by Monday against the hawks. Don't think it was a big deal he did not practice, and that he was aiming to get a little rest, and then practice after the cavs and clippers game, and will be good in a week.

That gives Caron and Gil 19 and 17 games respectively, and plenty of time to get ready for the post season...other predictions?

Posted by: Ben | March 11, 2008 4:27 PM

on Etan, I dont really care as long as he is good to go if we play the magic in the first round. He plays superman pretty tough, and we will really need his 6 fouls

Posted by: Ben | March 11, 2008 4:28 PM

Circle March 17th on your calendar at home vs. Atlanta for a reappearance of CB and Agent Zero. Last home game before going on the road for 7 of 8 to close the month. If CB and GA are still rehabbing by the end of the home stand, doesn't bode well for the Wiz to even make the playoffs. Atlanta will be a MUST win given the seeding implications.

Posted by: wizfan89 | March 11, 2008 4:33 PM

Good post Ivan.

Thanks for the mid-day update on Caron and I for one like the element of the live discussions and the blog that allows us readers to get to know our beat writers a bit as people.

Posted by: AC | March 11, 2008 4:40 PM

I'd like to see AD, Caron, AJ, AB, and BTH on the floor together again. That was a potent line-up when Eddie tinkered with it a few times pre-season and early season.

Posted by: Prazak | March 11, 2008 6:46 PM

DC Mann88 (or whoever is posting), why don't you just shutup.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 11, 2008 9:40 PM

DC Mann88 (or whoever is posting), why don't you just shutup.

Posted by: TC | March 11, 2008 9:41 PM


nuff said.

Posted by: dc | March 11, 2008 9:50 PM

There was a dork here that commented that Bucky (Steve Buckhantz) is a great news guy who knows more than others about basketball. Whatever Bucky is, he sure as heck not unbiased.

In tonight's game against the Bucks, Bucky had two strange comments.

1. AJ tried to make a pass down low to DSong, even though Bogut was there. As AJ released the pass that was intercepted by Bogut, Bucky chimed in "great pass, but it's picked off." Whatever Bucky. Great passes don't get picked off. They're called turnovers.

2. Bucky chimes in about EJ. "EJ deserves consideration for coach of the year for what he has done with Les BouleS." Whatever Bucky, last I checked, Les BouleS were below .500 in the suckee East.

Therefore, whichever dork that gave props to Bucky as a great reporter, you have standards that are probably lower than Lisa's past boyfriends. 'nuff said.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 11, 2008 10:34 PM

Who was the genius who said a few days ago that Young looked "scared" and "tentative" attacking the rim? And while I'm not one to blame the refs and believe in conspiracies ... it's hard not to look at this game and think that after that first tech, the refs had it in for Nick all night long.

Posted by: kalorama | March 11, 2008 10:57 PM

But Buckhantz sure can read those program notes and stats, endlessly.

How can they not comment on Pecherov in street clothes on the bench and the absence of Arenas?

Reporters are obliged to do stuff besides reading numbers.

Posted by: joe c | March 11, 2008 10:58 PM

It was very strange that Arenas was not on the bench. The DC Examiner reported that "Arenas has apparently taken a step back as he did not work out after practicing last week."

"He did not practice, so I'm not going to comment on it," said Eddie Jordan. "Only the guys that practice."

So the DC Examiner reports this but nothing from the WaPo? Very strange.

Sportsnet reported that Pech has a minor injury (ankle?) and Jamison left the game with a strained back and is day to day.

Posted by: Lisa_R | March 11, 2008 11:07 PM

A very sloppy win by the DC FIVE, it will be tough sledding the rest of the way. Teams with no playoff hope will be playing loosey goosey forcing the Wiz to play all out, Oh Yeah What's up Gil you playing or what ? C'mon give the knee a test if it don't feel right then 'shut it down" give your teamates some inspiration. "KEEP HOPE ALIVE" AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: ANDRAY (after you make a steal on the defensive end) GIVE UP THE DAMN BALL.

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | March 11, 2008 11:24 PM

"But Buckhantz sure can read those program notes and stats, endlessly.

How can they not comment on Pecherov in street clothes on the bench and the absence of Arenas?

Reporters are obliged to do stuff besides reading numbers.

Posted by: joe c | March 11, 2008 10:58 PM "

I don't think anyone needs any more reasons to tune into ESPN or TNT whenever a Les BouleS game is on those channels, instead of Comcast.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 12, 2008 12:05 AM

mark is an idiot
we did not invade Iraq simply because we didn't 'like the president' or his policies. If that were the case we would be invading many, many other countries by now. Sudam was a murdering dictator and was harboring and promoting anti-west sentiment and terrorism. As a LT in the US Navy I have seen and spoken to many Iraqi's that are glad we are there and they do not view us as an occupying power

Posted by: Anonymous | March 12, 2008 4:57 AM

I'm, in fact , not an idiot. I went to the USAFA and also served my country. I also have a couple of degrees. The point was that if foreign troops were in our country FOR WHATEVER REASON, most patriotic aAmericans would fight. We'd then be called insurgents. In fact, someof the guys over there believ that they are defending their country and freedom. There are a bunch of terrorists who are killing indiscriminately as well. If you missed my point, who's really the idiot?

Posted by: mark | March 12, 2008 9:31 AM

It was an example, a hypothetical. Pay attention and lighten up, soldier. Thanks for your service, BTW.

Posted by: mark | March 12, 2008 10:32 AM

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