Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris, who had sports hernia surgery in September, could return to the lineup Friday when the team hosts the Cleveland Cavaliers at Capital One Arena in northwest D.C.
Morris participated in 5-on-5 action Tuesday during practice. As he worked on his long-range shooting, he made at least eight 3-pointers in a row. His expected six-to-eight week recovery time from the Sept. 22 surgery would put him on course with his return to the court this week.
However, he must be cleared first by an independent league doctor Wednesday. If that happens, he’ll have to serve a one-game suspension for Wednesday night’s game against the Phoenix Suns because he left the bench during a scuffle between his teammate Bradley Beal and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green on Friday in Oakland.
The crowd’s enthusiasm and competition against other teams will be major aspects Morris said he’s ready for when he returns to the court.
“You need to actually play in games to be in game shape. You need to be in the game atmosphere,” he said after practice Tuesday. “You can do whatever you want [such as] running marathons, it’s not going to get you to play unless you’re out there.”
As for Morris’s first game of the season in facing LeBron James and the Cavaliers, Morris simply said, “[Don’t] care who it is. It’s another man. It doesn’t matter who it is. It’s another game.”
Meanwhile, head coach Scott Brooks said Morris could soon return to the starting lineup and that means Kelly Oubre Jr. would return to the bench. Oubre started the past five games and averaged 11 points and six rebounds in about 36 minutes.
“Of course I’d like to keep starting, but at the end of the day, I want to do what’s best for my team,” Oubre said after practice. “If it’s me coming off the bench, then that’s what it has to be. I just want us to win and get better each and every day.”