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February 25, 2008 1:38 PM

Watson staying home; Wilkins to have MRI

Posted by Percy Allen

Guard Earl Watson will not travel with the Sonics today to the Bay Area for tomorrow's game against Golden State becasue he's battling an upper respiratory infection.

Forward Donyell Marshall, who has flu-like symptoms and a fever above 100 degrees, will also skip the trip.

Forward Damien Wilkins is having an MRI exam on his strained right wrist and it's uncertain if he'll make the team plane. At the very least, he's listed as doubtful for tomorrow.

Forward Chris Wilcox, who missed Sunday's games because of a bronchial infection, is expected to make trip, but he too is doubtful.

That leaves the Sonics with just nine healthy players. They will not sign anyone to a 10-day contract because they have 15 players on the roster and they do not want to waive anybody.

Point guard Luke Ridnour will his third start this season in place of Watson and Mickael Gelabale is the backup. Coach P.J. Carlesimo joked that in an emergency he'll turn to Kevin Durant and Nick Collison for point-guard duty.

The Sonics will have their hands full against Baron Davis and Monta Ellis. They are the highest scoring backcourt duo in the NBA averaging, 40.9 points per game.

During a 15 minute discussion after practice, Carlesimo said the emphasis on the remaining 27 games is to develop rookies Kevin Durant and Jeff Green and give significant playing time center Johan Petro and Gelabale.

"The remainder of the season is very telling for Gelly and Joe," Carlesimo said.

It's curious that he did not mention Ridnour, which fuels speculation that the team is resigned to move him during the offseason. At the beginning of the season, Carlesimo talked frequently about wanting to start Ridnour and discover what he can do in Carlesimo's system.

The coach hasn't talked about anything like that recently.

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