The question has never been whether a healthy Stephen Jackson affects the Charlotte Bobcats' bottom line: They're 2-6 when he doesn't play this season.

The subtler question is, what defines a healthy Jackson? Coach Paul Silas keeps struggling with that. He needs Jackson (hamstring strain), but he doesn't need Jackson hobbling around. And he sure doesn't need Jackson worsening his injury, just to make a cameo appearance against the Washington Wizards Sunday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.

This one is complicated: Silas said before a loss in Orlando to the Magic Friday he'd rather have a full-speed Jackson (the Bobcats' leading scorer) for the last four games of the season than a debilitated Jackson for Sunday night and beyond.

Then the Bobcats lost to the Magic and the Indiana Pacers beat the Milwaukee Bucks to go two games up (plus the tiebreaker) over the Bobcats for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. That doesn't change Silas' philosophy that if players are too injured to be effective, they shouldn't play. But it does narrow the already-slim playoff chances.

The Bobcats didn't practice Saturday. Jackson has hinted he wants to play Sunday night, and Shaun Livingston (bruised tailbone) said he might also play. With the playoffs on the line, what do you do?