Rui Hachimura returns to Wizards’ lineup following knee soreness originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Wizards had a welcome sight Monday when second-year forward Rui Hachimura returned to the lineup for the first time in a little over a week. Hachimura missed four games with left knee soreness.
In 32 minutes on the floor in a 146-143 loss, Hachimura scored 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting with six rebounds. It was probably a bit longer than coach Scott Brooks was comfortable playing him, but the situation certainly required it.
“I thought he was a little rusty, but that’s probably expected,” Brooks said. “He hasn’t played in a while and his only competition was a couple of days against coaches. I think he’ll be back better tomorrow. I thought his defense was a step behind at times, like I said, that’s kind of expected. He’ll play much better next game.”
Hachimura hadn’t played since April 17 against the Detroit Pistons but was removed from the injury report on Monday.
“It’s alright,” Hachimura said of his left knee. “It’s a little tight, but I knew it was going to be like this. I’ve just got to take care of my body, get treatment and get ready for the next game.”
He was certainly a welcome addition to the Wizards’ lineup, especially after Deni Avdija’s serious ankle injury that, unless the Wizards make a run to the NBA Finals, will keep him out for the remainder of the season.
Late in the game, as the Wizards’ defense struggled to get a stop against the Spurs’ offense, Hachimura showed he still needed a little bit longer to get back into the swing of things.
“I thought he played solid, I don’t think he played bad,” Brooks said. “I thought defensively he got beat a couple times late in the game, the one on the baseline and the one up top. And normally, he probably would’ve been able to stay in front of them.”
Still, having another key defender and potential tertiary scorer to complement Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook is a sight for the sore eyes of the Wizards, who had their eight-game winning streak snapped.