Price eager to return, increase free-agent value

Price eager to return, increase free-agent value
March 28, 2013, 12:30 pm
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A.J. Price appears to be walking on eggshells, literally.

He moves gingerly because of his groin strain and hasn't played for the Wizards since March 12, missing nine games, including Wednesday's loss at the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"We anticipate he will be (back)," Wittman said even though there are just 11 games left in the season. 

Price’s injury lingered for a long time. He played through it, starting 22 games for the Wizards (26-45) who were without point guard John Wall for the first 33 games of the season while he recovered from a left knee injury.

“Its’ been really tough. Before I got injured, I was playing well, the team was playing well so it’s all very tough from that aspect,” said Price, who spent his first three seasons with the Indiana Pacers and averages 7.1 points and 4.0 assists per game in Washington. “You always want to be able to go out there and showcase what you can do. I’m just trying to stay patient.

“It was gradual. I played for about a month that I was in pain. I played through it and I progressively got worse. It got to the point where I just couldn't push through it anymore. Once I got out there I just tried to block it out. Tried to play through it and pay for it that night or the next morning. When I got warmed up and I got into the game I was OK for a while.”

Price’s injury has meant Wall has had to play significantly more minutes. The Wizards’ only other healthy ball-handler is Garrett Temple, a career role player who has become a starter with Bradley Beal still out with a left ankle sprain.

“He’s really stepped his game up knowing he’s going to play more minutes than before when I was playing. He’s really put together some great games and has great numbers to show for it,” Price said.

Price is scheduled to become a free agent. Not being able to finish strong compounds his problem. He'd like the chance to maximize his value, too.

“It adds to the frustration but what can you do? What can you do? Injuries are part of the game. Just trying to get myself back to form as quick as possible so I can showcase what I can do for everybody and make a statement,” Price said. “I’m really trying to get back on the court.”