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Wizards-Bobcats Preview

Feb 9, 2010 - 8:28 PM By ANTHONY GIORNALISTA STATS Senior Writer

Washington (17-32) at Charlotte (24-25), 7:00 p.m. EDT

Tyson Chandler doesn't want to get in the way of any cohesion the Charlotte Bobcats may have. In that case, the veteran big man seems to be returning at an ideal time.

Losers of three straight, the Bobcats certainly don't have much to lose by working Chandler back into the lineup in a matchup with the lowly Washington Wizards on Tuesday night.

Chandler participated in his first full practice Monday after missing more than a month due to a stress reaction in his left foot, and he says it's possible he could get some time against the Wizards (17-32). He said he felt fine after taking part in Tuesday morning's shootaround.

When Charlotte acquired him in a trade with New Orleans in July, Chandler was already recovering from ankle and toe surgeries. He was then shelved after struggling through his first 25 games.

Chandler is eager to help the Bobcats (24-25), but he knows he won't get his starting job back right away. He'll be used off the bench, at least for his first few games back.

"Right now we're playing so well I don't want to disrupt chemistry at all," Chandler said. "I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be playing starter's minutes when I first come back. But I also think it's how I perform out there."

Charlotte, though, may be in need of a rotation shakeup. The Bobcats began to jell after Chandler was injured, matching a franchise record with six straight wins and setting a team mark with nine straight home victories, but they have lost three straight and six of nine.

"Let's hope he can come back (Tuesday)," coach Larry Brown said. "It's a nice problem to have."

Chandler is averaging 6.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. Charlotte has been getting consistent play from Nazr Mohammed, Chandler's replacement at center, and Brown said he envisions having them on the court at the same time occasionally.

Mohammed has been a surprise bright spot for the Bobcats, averaging 11.6 points and 8.1 rebounds in his last 10 games. Mohammed is better than Chandler offensively, but he's not as imposing of a defensive presence.

Charlotte is holding opponents to 94.2 points per game, but it has surrendered 103.2 over its last nine.

While Chandler's return will help with frontcourt depth, the Bobcats may be short-handed in the backcourt after Raymond Felton twisted his ankle in practice Monday. Felton, did not participate in Tuesday's shootaround but said he expects to play against Washington.

If it turns out Felton can't play, D.J. Augustin may get his first start of the season. He had 13 points and five rebounds in Charlotte's 104-99 loss to New Orleans on Saturday night.

Washington was scheduled to host Atlanta that evening, but the game was postponed due to a blizzard in the Mid-Atlantic region. The teams will make up the game March 11.

The Wizards haven't played since beating Orlando 92-91 on Friday night for one of their most impressive wins of the season. Caron Butler made a 19-foot jumper with 0.5 seconds left, capping Washington's comeback from a 21-point deficit.

The Wizards, last in the Southeast Division, are 2-0 against the first-place Magic. Washington is now trying to win consecutive games for the sixth time this season.

Another outstanding performance from Butler would certainly help. The veteran forward had a season-high 31 points while adding nine rebounds versus Orlando after missing the previous game due to a bruised left knee.

Butler is averaging 26.5 points in his last six games against the Bobcats.

Charlotte beat Washington 92-76 on Nov. 28, limiting the Wizards to a season low-tying point total.