Even though Al Harrington missed 47 games because of his right knee during the regular season, having the soon-to-be free agent is crucial to a team such as the Wizards. Harrington wants to be back, but his ability to regain full health will determine his future.
"I'm just going to take my time and let my body heal. I got to get shoulder surgery. My left shoulder," Harrington said to CSN Washington after he exited the locker room following a 93-80 loss in Game 6 to the Indiana Pacers on Thursday. "It's just wear and tear over time, and something I needed to get done all year but I was just playing through the pain."
Harrington had a procedure to clean out loose particles in his knee in December and returned just after the All-Star break in mid-February. After not playing much in a first-round series vs. the Chicago Bulls, Harrington was relied on heavily against the Pacers because of his ability to stretch the floor. He didn't score in eight minutes of Thursday's elimination game.
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It was a rocky first season in Washington for the 34-year-old who played for the veteran minimum of $884,000. But Harrington's role in calming the locker room after a 2-7 start in which players had what he called "personal issues" with one another can't be overlooked. His three-point shot makes Harrington a good fit for coach Randy Wittman's system.
"We'll see man," Harrington said when asked if he could retire instead. "It's always something when you get to this part of your career. If I play I'll probably be a Wizard again."