Wizards' Strickland Back, But DNP

Rod Strickland returned to the Washington Wizards before Sunday night's game against Detroit, ending a disappearing act that started before last week's road trip to Miami.

He did not play in the game against the Pistons, though.

Strickland missed two practices last week. He was fined for oversleeping and missing practice on Tuesday, then grumbled that management was picking on him after he didn't start and played only 18 minutes the next night against New York.

On Thursday, Strickland missed practice, a doctor's appointment and the team's flight to Miami without contacting anyone in the organization. He was fined and suspended for Friday's game against the Heat by president of basketball operations Michael Jordan.

"It was a little frustration, man, that's all," Strickland said in the locker room before Sunday night's game. "I ain't trying to battle anybody. Just frustration."

Strickland and coach Leonard Hamilton met briefly before the Pistons game. Hamilton then said he planned to have Strickland play. Instead, Strickland did not suit up and sat one row behind the bench, next to injured center Jahidi White.

"Rod before the game I think notified the trainer that his hamstrings were sore, and that he didn't think he would be able to play," Hamilton said.

Strickland has been complaining about hamstring problems most of the season, but he did not miss a game until his suspension.

After the game, Strickland was vague when asked about a timetable for his return.

"I don't know," Strickland said. "Until it gets better."

Chris Whitney started at point guard for the third consecutive game. He led the team to a 110-96 victory, breaking a six-game losing streak.

"When you have a situation like this, it's uncomfortable for everybody," Hamilton said. "The way I like to handle it is put it behind me and move on."


©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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