WASHINGTON -- With their regular-season opener set for Wednesday, the Wizards keep getting positive news with the injuries that have plagued them throughout training camp and the preseason. On Monday, both Troy Brown Jr. and C.J. Miles made their practice debuts and Moe Wagner also practiced after getting hurt in the team's last preseason games.
Brown has been out all of preseason due to a strained left calf. Miles has also missed all of preseason after having surgery on his left foot in July. Wagner has been dealing with a bruised back after a collision with Joel Embiid of the Sixers. It sounds like he could be fully cleared soon.
Head coach Scott Brooks tempered expectations on Brown and Miles, noting they did not participate in a full practice and that the regular season is just two days away.
"They went through parts of practice, but not the meat of it, not the bulk of it. But it's a good step," Brooks said.
When asked if Brown and Miles would play on Wednesday when the Wizards battle the Dallas Mavericks, Brooks said he doesn't "anticipate that happening." But for them to get out there at all is a good sign given they are slated to be the top two small forwards on the roster.
With Brown and Miles likely still out for the opener, Brooks may have to go with a big lineup including Rui Hachimura and Davis Bertans, or with someone with little NBA experience like Isaac Bonga. He had Bonga start in several preseason games with them out.
For Brown, this has been the longest injury absence of his young career. He had never missed this much time previously at any level.
He was just happy to be back on the court Monday, even if he wasn't yet cleared for contact.
"It's just one of those things where I was itching to get back. A lot of time off, it can be good and back. I just tried to use it as a learning lesson," he said.
Brown and Miles practicing came one day after point guard Isaiah Thomas practiced fully for the first time since his left thumb surgery in September. With so many players out, Brooks wasn't able to get a full read on his new-look roster during the preseason.
But slowly and surely his players are coming back and it may not be long before the Wizards can suit up with the roster they had in mind during the offseason.
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