Wizards' Ian Mahinmi set to miss start of playoffs with a strained calf

Washington Wizards center Ian Mahinmi can't catch a break. Mahinmi, who missed 50 games because of knee trouble before becoming the Wizards' backup center in February, will be sidelined at the beginning of the playoffs because of a strained left calf, coach Scott Brooks told reporters Wednesday. 

From the Washington Post's Candace Buckner:

On Wednesday, Coach Scott Brooks announced that Ian Mahinmi will miss the team's regular season finale in Miami, as well as upcoming games, as he deals with a strained left calf. Mahinmi underwent an MRI exam that revealed swelling. He will be evaluated again in 7 to 10 days.

Although the NBA has not released the playoff schedule yet, the evaluation timeline could keep Mahinmi sidelined for at least the opening three games of the first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks.

"Hopefully he feels better then, but you never know," Brooks said. "But he's definitely going to miss the first couple of games [of the playoffs]."

"We'll definitely miss Ian because he was actually playing his best basketball, defensively he was giving us a very good rim protector and pick-and-roll player," Brooks said. "I'm still confident in the group. We'll still play hard and play well."

This is tough news for Mahinmi, who has battled back from injuries to both of his knees. For the Wizards, it takes away one advantage -- they are one of the few teams in the NBA who have two defensive-minded centers capable of giving them 48 minutes of rim protection -- but it might open up more minutes for a small lineup they should be using more often anyway.

Washington is fortunate that its starting center, Marcin Gortat, is capable of playing 30-plus minutes of physical basketball without getting in foul trouble. When it goes to the bench, it will now be forced to use forwards Markieff Morris and Jason Smith at center. Brooks hasn't tried Morris at center very much this season, but in the limited time that he has gone to it, the Wizards have been extremely tough to stop. More smallball might not be a bad thing against the Hawks. 

CBS Sports Writer

James Herbert is somewhat fond of basketball, feature writing and understatements. A former season-ticket holder for the expansion Toronto Raptors, Herbert does not think the NBA was better back in the... Full Bio

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