Washington (2-3) at Indiana (1-3)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Indianapolis, IN
Temp: 51° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Fri Nov 6, 2009
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The Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers already have been hit hard by injuries. Surprisingly, Gilbert Arenas(notes) isn’t among the wounded.

Appearing strong after a long bout with knee problems, Arenas leads the Wizards against the Pacers on Friday night in a matchup of short-handed teams.

Washington (2-3) is coming off its second straight loss, 93-89 to Miami on Wednesday night. Mike Miller’s(notes) injury, though, may have bee more troubling than the defeat.

Acquired in a trade with Minnesota in June, Miller sprained his left shoulder in the fourth quarter and is expected to miss seven to 10 days. He’s averaging 8.4 points and 8.2 rebounds, having started all five of Washington’s games.

The Wizards already were without two-time All-Star forward Antwan Jamison, who has not played since injuring his right shoulder in the preseason. He’s expected to miss another two weeks.

Guard Javaris Crittenton(notes) had surgery on his left foot Oct. 23, and he’ll likely be out another month for a Washington team which believed it could be among the Eastern Conference’s best as long as Arenas stayed healthy.

It turns out Arenas has been the least of the Wizards’ concerns. The veteran point guard has shown flashes of regaining the form he had before enduring three operations on his left knee in a span of about 18 months, limiting him to 13 games in 2007-08 and two last season.

Arenas is averaging 27.6 points and 5.6 assists while shooting 41.7 percent from 3-point range. He had 32 points versus the Heat, making 8 of 12 shots from beyond the arc.

Still, Washington shot under 40 percent from the field for the second straight game after hitting 50.6 percent in its first three contests.

“Our players want to have success, and when the team is struggling they believe sometimes that they’re going to be the one to get you out of it and so maybe they’re trying to do too much,” coach Flip Saunders told the Wizards’ official Web site.

Indiana (1-3) didn’t fall into that trap Wednesday night, using tough defense to beat the New York Knicks 101-89.

The Pacers won even though leading rebounder Troy Murphy(notes) sat out with a bruised lower back. He was hurt in the first quarter of Indiana’s 111-93 loss to Denver on Tuesday night.

Coach Jim O’Brien doesn’t know how long the forward will be out, but said Murphy had trouble putting on his shoes Wednesday. He has posted 8.7 points and 9.7 rebounds a contest.

Indiana is without another top player, Mike Dunleavy Jr., who is still recovering from surgery on his right knee.

Without Murphy and Dunleavy, as well as reserve guard Travis Diener(notes) (toe), the Pacers had their best game of the season defensively after surrendering an average of 109.0 points in their previous three games.

“That has to be the signature of our team, that regardless of what we’re doing on the offensive end, we can always stop you on the defensive end,” Indiana forward Danny Granger(notes) said.

Granger is shooting 35.2 percent from the field while averaging 20.3 points in three games since making 10 of 18 shots and scoring 31 points in a season-opening loss to Atlanta.

The All-Star forward averaged 29.0 points in the Pacers’ three games against Washington last season, helping them win two.

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Friday, Nov 6