Wizards’ backup center Ian Mahinmi has strained calf, will miss start of playoffs

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For a Wizards team about to go up against a front line with Dwight Howard and Paul Millsap in the playoffs, losing some depth hurts.

On Wednesday, Washington coach Scott Brooks announced that backup center Ian Mahinmi would be out for the team’s final game against the Heat on Wednesday. But the bigger concern is he is going to be out longer than just that one game, reports Candace Buckner of the Washington Post.

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 will likely 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].”

Mahinmi has only played in 31 games for the Wizards this season due to a variety of injuries. He averaged 5.6 points and 4.8 rebounds a game in just shy of 18 minutes a night when he did play, he was solid but not spectacular. That said, he’s a rim protector who, when healthy, would be a boost in the paint for Washington.

This will put a bigger load on Marcin Gortat to start the playoffs, and could mean more Jason Smith for the Wizards. Expect to see the Wizards go small with Markieff Morris playing some five against the Hawks.