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ROOKIE REPORT: Haywood on Wizards' playoff pursuit

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Seven-foot, 266-pound center Brendan Haywood has made a significant impact on the Wizards in his rookie year. Washington has become one of the top stories of the season as UNC's all-time leader in blocked shots and field-goal percentage has helped Michael Jordan transform the Wizards into playoff contenders. Check back frequently on FOXSports.com for Brendan's insight and analysis throughout the season. My teammates and I still feel that we can make the playoffs, especially with M.J. back in the lineup. We have 12 games left in the season and we're about 3 1/2 games behind Indiana for the final spot, so anything can happen. If we can just make a final push and go .500 or better, it will definitely put some pressure on Indiana to finish the season out strong. Our final games of the season are against teams that we have a good chance of defeating (Denver, Memphis, New York and Philadelphia without Iverson), but we still have some very tough opponents down the stretch in the form of Milwaukee (twice), the Lakers, Dallas and New Jersey. It¿s been very tough for me the last couple of weeks but I¿m still trying to help the team as much as I can with rebounding and tough defense. My knee¿s been very sore and I may have to get it scoped in the off-season, but I can¿t let that distract me. It¿s been a year of injuries for all of us — I began the year on the injured list and I¿ve watched almost every one of my teammates go down at some point. In fact, I think Chris Whitney is the only player on our team that hasn¿t missed a game this season (knock on wood). M.J. has looked pretty good since coming back from his injury considering that he had his knee scoped. I¿ve never heard of anyone coming back so quickly from such a serious injury, but that¿s Mike for you. He seems to be testing himself to see what he can and can't do out there and he's really been trying to get back into the offensive flow without disrupting what we've been doing without him. I still think he's happy with the decision to come out of retirement despite his injury-plagued season. I know that he wants to make the playoffs more than anyone else does on the team and he plans to do everything in his power to make it happen. I watched the playoffs for so many years when I was growing up and it would be a dream come true to make it there my rookie year. Not many people realize that there are some great players in the league who have never made it at all in their careers.
Tagged: Magic, Wizards, Brendan Haywood

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