Wake-up call: Wittman limits Al Harrington's minutes

Wake-up call: Wittman limits Al Harrington's minutes
February 27, 2014, 6:00 am
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Wizards dealt with life without Nene

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Al Harrington wants to play more -- he even barked that to the sideline during the last game that he didn't want to come out -- Wizards coach Randy Wittman had the last word. He's sticking firm with a minutes restriction, the third player this season coming off injury to deal with the better-safe-than-sorry measure, going into Thursday's game at the Toronto Raptors (CSN+, 7 p.m. ET). 

"Al, we just have to be careful with because we want Al for the rest of the seven weeks we have in the regular season," said Wittman, who also had to put Bradley Beal and Nene on minute restrictions that wreaked havoc with his rotations. "I’ve got to be careful, especially with the injuries that we have. I’ve got to bring Al along slowly. I didn’t want to go any longer than 12, 13, 14 minutes after he went seven minutes in Cleveland. We’ll see how he responds and where he's at as we move forward.”

Harrington had surgery on his right knee to remove loose particles in December. He'd only played in seven games for the Wizards (29-28) until recently. He has played in the last three games, getting 33 seconds vs. New Orleans Pelicans, seven vs. Cleveland Cavaliers and 14 vs. Orlando Magic. 

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The Cleveland game was a struggle because Harrington became winded quickly. That didn't happen with Orlando as the 33-year-old forward led the reserves with seven points and two assists.

"When you get out there you just want to play. Last game I was tired. This game I wasn't tired," Harrington said after the 115-106 win to give the Wizards their fourth win in a row. "I guess it's going to be up and down for me. Coach did a great job taking me out, saving me for Toronto."

Harrington missed an uncontested dunk but hustled back down court and poked the ball from behind to cause Jameer Nelson to make a turnover. John Wall collected the loose ball and showed his first-year teammate how to put the ball away. Harrington may get more chances to dunk because of the way defenses are defending him again. 

"Guys are guarding the three-point line," he said, "so I'm going to have to get back to finishing like I was when I was young."

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