By Bryan Frantz

WASHINGTON — The Wizards desperately need a clean bill of health entering the playoffs. They won’t get it.

Coach Scott Brooks announced Wednesday afternoon that backup center Ian Mahinmi — who has been a significant boost since he recovered from lingering knee injuries — will miss at least the beginning of the playoffs, as reported by Candace Buckner.

Mahinmi will be evaluated again in 7 to 10 days, per Buckner, meaning he’ll miss at least the beginning of the first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks. The timetable has yet to be established with that series, but the opening game is expected to be either Saturday or Sunday. It’s not promising, to say the least, that Mahinmi will need at least a week before he’s even re-evaluated.

With Mahinmi out, starting center Marcin Gortat should see his playing time increase. Gortat had seen his playing time drop over the previous month or so given Mahinmi’s rise, though Jason Smith figures to get some additional minutes, as well.

Buckner also notes Brooks had plans to shrink the rotation before Mahinmi’s injury, and starting power forward Markieff Morris could end up playing minutes at the center when the team goes into smaller rotations.

In other Wizards news from Wednesday, Brooks announced he would keep various starters on the bench for the regular-season finale.

With nothing to play for in the regular season except the elusive 50-win mark, the Wizards have evidently decided to focus on the future instead of history.

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  1. Gerry Miller says:

    I am quite sure that Brooks’ rotation shrinking plan did not include benching a healthy Ian Mahinmi when they have to face off against Dwight Howard in the first round! And the Wizards’ best option to guard the mighty Paul Millsap is Markieff Morris, so shifting Morris to the 5 spot will probably not be an option that the Wizards can use much.

    Here is a “So Wizards” fact. Remember Nene, who was brittle but effective when he could play.
    Well, Nene has been able to play more than twice the number of minutes and appeared in more than twice as many games as Mahinmi did over the course of the 2016-17 season.

    Mahinmi has looked pretty good in most of the handful of games he was able to play. However, the Wizards did not have a better winning percentage in the 30 games he played since February 8 than they did in their 30 games prior to Feb 8. Still I had felt that Mahinmi could earn some of that massive paycheck in the more physical playoff games, especially physical rebounding bigs like Dwight Howard. Now it looks like Mahinmi will not be able to play.

    Signing Mahinmi to a large, long-term contract was a mistake that now haunts the Wizards, and this misstep could haunt them for years to come.

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