The Washington Wizards are hoping their Christmas break will give them time to heal.

They'll hope to have Caron Butler back in the lineup on Wednesday when they visit the Charlotte Bobcats.

Butler missed a game for the first time this season on Saturday, sitting out a 93-85 loss in Indiana with ankle injuries. He sprained his right ankle in practice on Thursday and rolled the left one while taking his first shot on Friday in a 97-92 loss to Atlanta.

Butler, who leads the Wizards (13-13) with 22.0 points per game, finished the game against the Hawks, but shot just 5-of-14 and had only 13 points. He is listed as day-to-day, but will have some extra time to get healthy with Washington's three days off.

"It will be good to clear our heads over the next couple of days," said Antawn Jamison, possibly the Wizards' lone bright spot during their current three-game losing streak with averages of 27.7 points and 11.0 rebounds.

"We've got some big games coming up, and with us getting some bodies back, I believe this is the most important stretch of the season for us."

Washington also has been without Gilbert Arenas and Antonio Daniels.

Arenas has been out since Nov. 16 and might not return until March after undergoing surgery on his left knee. Daniels, who had stepped into Arenas' starting role, has missed four straight games with a sprained ligament in his right knee, but could be back as soon as Saturday.

"We have to live through it," coach Eddie Jordan said. "We have to do the things we're supposed to do with the people that are healthy, and let the winning and losing take care of itself."

Jamison had 29 points and 12 rebounds and Roger Mason added a career-high 20 points in his second straight start for the Wizards, who are among the Eastern Conference's highest-scoring teams (99.9 ppg) but have been held to an average of 87.0 points during this three-game skid.

Despite their battered roster, the Wizards were not dominated in any of those three games but were outscored in the fourth quarter each time.

"We don't want to keep it close - we want to win the game," Jordan said.

Washington is 10-3 all-time against the Bobcats (10-15), including 5-2 in Charlotte. Butler has averaged 19.7 points - his most against any Eastern Conference team - in nine career games versus Charlotte.

Like Washington, the Bobcats also should benefit from a break.

They missed a chance at a season-high third straight win Saturday with a 103-99 loss in Milwaukee. It was the second game in as many nights for Charlotte, and it was delayed 15 minutes because the Bobcats arrived only an hour before the scheduled tip-off after needing nearly 11 hours to get to Milwaukee due to weather problems.

"Fatigue was definitely a factor," coach Sam Vincent said. "We were completely off our routine and guys were a little tired."

Forward Othella Harrington missed his third consecutive game due to arthritis pain in his surgically repaired left knee, and guard Jeff McInnis left the game with a left foot injury late in the third quarter. It's unclear if either veteran will be able to play Wednesday.

Jason Richardson scored a season-high 30 points for the Bobcats before fouling out. Richardson, acquired in a draft-day trade with Golden State, has scored in double figures in all but three of his 25 games.


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