Al Harrington, who the Wizards signed in the offseason after he was waived by the Orlando Magic this past summer, was supposed to fill the stretch 4 role that the team has been missing for quite some time. After rehabbing this offseason, Harrington played an important role for Washington as a reserve, providing some scoring relief for the starters, but he ultimately suffered another setback. Harrington underwent a knee procedure in early December that kept him out for over a month, but he’s finally getting back on the court.
After Friday’s shoot-around, Harrington went to the court and took some standstill jumpers, but he still has not been cleared to start participating in contact drills. He is expected to get re-evaluated in a week or so to determine a timeline for his return.
Without Harrington, Washington’s bench has struggled mightily on the offensive side of the floor. Nene and Martell Webster have been playing as reserves to help stabilize the bench, but the Wizards still lack depth. Harrington provided a scoring spark off the bench that the Wizards desperately needed, but even more importantly, he’s been a locker room leader for some of the younger forwards on the team.
The Wizards are currently 5th in the Eastern Conference, so they aren’t necessarily rushing to get Harrington back in the lineup. Although they could use his help, the Wizards realize that his presence on the court would be much more important in the latter half of the season and possibly even the playoffs.
Once players are cleared to start shooting, they’re likely still a few weeks removed from actually practicing. I wouldn’t be surprised if Harrington makes his return to the Wizards’ lineup later this month, possibly before the All-Star break.