Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse. When losses in consecutive nights to the Charlotte Bobcats isn't even your top concern, you've got some real issues. Tonight, in losing to the 'Cats, Wiz star Gilbert Arenas injured his left knee in a collision with Charlotte's Gerald Wallace. He's having an MRI on Thursday to measure the damage, but let's not kid ourselves - you hear knee injury, and you don't think day-to-day.
Not that it's likely to matter at this point as far as Washington's chances in the playoffs go. When Caron Butler was lost, for all intensive purposes, for the season last weekend, the Wizards' season went down with it. Butler may not be the team's best player - it's Arenas - but he is the heart of the team, the glue in the Wizards' triumvirate of Arenas, Butler, and Antawn Jamison that holds it all together.
What's troubling for me is how quickly the season flipped on its head for Washington. At the All-Star break, this team was flying high. There was an MVP candidate in Arenas, an All-Star Game coach in Eddie Jordan, and a division title seemed like a formality. But the Wizards have shown an inability to play consistent ball if they are missing any of their three stars. On a team that doesn't play defense, you need all the offense you can get, and a duo of high-scorers isn't enough to win. Now, a team that once had the best record in the Eastern Conference is barely above .500 at 39-35, and an first-round exit in the playoffs seems more certain with each passing day. In the playoffs, the Wizards are likely to draw either Toronto, who they have had a ton of trouble with this year, or more likely, Miami, which has owned Washington seemingly since time immemorial.
Hopefully Arenas' MRI doesn't turn up disastrous damage, but even if that's not the case, don't expect to see Washington get past the first round for a second consecutive year.