Sonics' Lewis on return: "I wish it was sooner"
Sooner than expected, Rashard Lewis is returning to the Sonics. It's just not soon enough. He flew with the team to the nation's capital...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Sooner than expected, Rashard Lewis is returning to the Sonics. It's just not soon enough.
He flew with the team to the nation's capital, but the 6-foot-10 small forward will remain on the sideline for today's game against Washington.
Lewis, who underwent surgery to repair a strained tendon sheath in his right hand, will return to the practice court Tuesday. He isn't expected to play in Wednesday's game at Indiana, and plans to return to Seattle for another workout and an important visit with his doctors Friday.
"If everything goes well and they say I'm good, then I'll be back this week," Lewis said. "But that's later in the week, not sooner. I wish it was sooner, though."
After suffering the injury Dec. 20 against Dallas, the prognosis had Lewis missing from six to eight weeks. His target return date, Saturday against Sacramento, is a week earlier than expected.
"He's done a good job with his conditioning, he's done a good job with his rehab and he's lifted," coach Bob Hill said. "I think because of his body type that he'll get game conditioning back quickly."
Sonics at Washington Wizards
4 p.m. today at Verizon Center
TV/radio: FSN/770 AM.
Records: Sonics 17-30, Washington 27-19.
Injuries: Sonics — F Rashard Lewis (strained right tendon sheath) and F Danny Fortson (sore left knee) are out. Wizards — F Antawn Jamison (left knee sprain) and C Michael Ruffin (right foot sprain).
At Saturday's practice in Seattle, Lewis participated in a variety of shooting drills with teammates, at one point lofting half-court and three-quarter-court shots with little effort.
"If I can shoot those shots without any pain, that lets me know that everything will be all right," he said.
Hill isn't so sure. As desperate as the coach is for a win — the Sonics have lost 14 consecutive road games and fallen to 17-30 — he wants to see Lewis in a couple of practices.
He's also urging his star forward to heed the advice of trainers and wear a protective glove, but Lewis hasn't made up his mind.
"As of right now, I will wear it. But if it [the hand] continues to improve every day and the soreness goes away and the pain goes away, then I will not wear it," Lewis said. "I think it will affect my jump shot a little bit."
Without their co-captain, second-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder, the Sonics have a 7-14 record, which includes the game in which he was injured.
Hill estimates that half of those defeats were decided in the fourth quarter when Seattle needed another scoring option besides guard Ray Allen.
"All these close games, if you go back and look at them, the last five minutes we go through him," he said. "When you get as good as he is, you know how to throw out of double teams. That's a process. It doesn't just happen overnight. We got guys who just aren't there yet. We don't understand those things yet."
Without Lewis, the Sonics fell out of playoff contention. They were 10-16 before his injury.
"It's been a long five to six weeks, a frustrating five to six weeks," he said. "Ray has been playing well and he's been doing his best to try to help us win ballgames, but he just needed that extra push and that's where I come in."
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.