Morning tip: Harrington weighs in on center

Morning tip: Harrington weighs in on center
September 29, 2013, 8:00 am
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Al Harrington has been doing his best to get back into game shape, but there might be a problem ahead. 

The Wizards may need him to play more than he expected in the low post now that starting center Emeka Okafor (herniated disk) is out indefinitely and there isn't much proven depth at the position.

It's clear that Harrington, a 6-9 power forward entering his 16th season and first in Washington after signing as a free agent last month, isn't exactly looking forward to it. 

"I lost a lot of weight this summer so I wasn't expecting to play the 5," he said. "We'll have to see how it plays out. I've always been one of those guys that's always trying to provide what the team is lacking. If I have to play more minutes (at center) … I'm wiling to go out and try to do it."

The Wizards have other options at center, which include Kevin Seraphin, Nene and Jan Vesely. Nene, who is a 7-footer and spends time in the middle when Okafor is on the bench, can be injury-prone which would place an even greater burden on Harrington.

Coach Randy Wittman was candid earlier in the week that Harrington still wasn't in game shape going into training camp. Harrington doesn't deny it. 

"I worked extremely hard this summer," said Harrington, who played center in spots with the Denver Nuggets when they went to small lineups. "I put a lot of hours in the gym, but I didn't do a lot of running. I did a lot of working on my body. I lost 27 pounds."

Harrington only played 10 games last season with the Orlando Magic because of a staph infection in his right knee. He has no concerns about it now, but he'd much rather avoid having to pack on extra pounds in order to defend down low. 

"I hope not," Harrington, 33, said. "I think it's better to keep the pressure off my knees."