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Wizards owner says he won’t allow players to use injuries as an excuse

Oct 5, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

John Wall, Ted Leonsis AP

The Wizards have suffered far more than their fair share of injuries recently, making it difficult to climb out of the five-year funk that has let the team out of the postseason picture.

This year is no exception, with Emeka Okafor and Chris Singleton already sidelined. But they aren’s exactly John Wall and Nene, who each missed significant time last season.

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis expects to see improvement this year, and is placing pressure on his players to produce results. While injuries have been a very real issue for the team to deal with, Leonsis says that he no longer wants to hear that as an excuse.

From J. Michael of CSN Washington:

“We have 13 healthy players and the one thing I’m not allowing anybody to do is use injuries as an excuse,” Leonsis said at a news conference. “We have 15 players under contract. Two can’t start the season. That means we have 13. That’s all you can dress anyway.

“Last year, there was a pass given. We didn’t have Nene and John Wall, our two best players. Understandable.” …

“We’ve retained our players. We’ve added a lot of players. We’ve spent a lot of money. And I expect us to be a playoff-caliber team. …That’s the pressure I’ve placed on the organization.”

Had I been at this press conference, I would have asked Leonsis a follow-up to his “no using injuries as an excuse” statement, and it would have gone something like this: What does that even mean?

If guys are legitimately injured, that’s not an excuse. It’s an actual reason that they are unable to play. You can’t possibly live up to expectations if your best players are constantly missing time due to injury — just ask last year’s Lakers about that.

Things should indeed be improved in D.C. this year, and the team has an outside shot of making the playoffs if all the right pieces fall into place. But injuries would derail that dream rather quickly, and Leonsis more than most should be aware of that unfortunate possibility.

  1. Anoesis - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    The part about wanting the team to do better makes sense. The part about not using injuries as an excuse? Not so much. Does Leonsis expect them to dress and play while injured? Wouldn’t that prevent the team from becoming better, as he has stated he wants? How does someone become wealthy enough to own an NBA team with that kind of logic?

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      Lots of rich people are stupid. Take the son of an orangutan Donald Trump, for example, not to mention “Lil” gw bush-League, king of stupid and hero to the stupid.

    • muhangis - Oct 6, 2013 at 2:40 AM

      Too many unintelligent wealthy people out there. It more has to do with how you satisfy the status quo

  2. cbrown386 - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    I get where he’s coming from, I think. He wants his guys to take care of their bodies through the year and be smart. A lot of those minor day-to-day type of things are the player’s fault. He also made it pretty clear that he think the team is more talented. If someone goes down, he thinks the team should at least survive for an 8th seed, which they almost had last year even with the injuries.

    I mean, I’m sure Wall blowing his acl in the preseason would change his tone, but I see what he’s saying. I don’t think his words were meant to be taken literally, he’s just pumping up his guys to be ready to step up.

  3. abxyer - Oct 5, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    “But they aren’s exactly John Wall and Nene…”

    OK…wtf is “aren’s”?????????

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