DALLAS — Washington Wizards point guard John Wall said Wednesday that he still doesn’t have a target date to join his teammates for the first time this season. He continues to rehab from a stress fracture in his right knee, a daily grind that isn’t getting any easier with which to cope.
“Still tough and frustrating,” Wall said as he laced his sneakers to go put up some jump shots with assistant coach Sam Cassell prior to the Wizards’ game against the Dallas Mavericks.
The final days of November will mark the eight-week period that Wall was expected to miss after being diagnosed with the early stages of a non-traumatic stress injury in the knee just prior to the start of training camp. However, it’s apparent that Washington’s young potential star won’t make the deadline.
When the team is at home, Wall pushes through rehab and then does little else.
“Just lock myself in my house and listen to music,” he said.
Wall, as well as injured center Nene (who also has no timetable for a return from plantar fasciitis) travels with the team, sits in on film sessions and remains in close contact with coach Randy Wittman and his teammates, who are battling their own frustrations with six consecutive losses heading into Wednesday’s game.
“We talk, he’s with us all the time. That’s why we bring him with us, he and Nene,” Wittman said. “They’re around the team, they’re with us in all the meetings, we talk and I want them to talk to their teammates, as well, seeing what they’re seeing. It’s a different game sitting over there (on the bench) than when they’re out running up and down the floor, and they can be a help in that area.”
Wall, 22, would rather be running up and down the floor and getting his third season off the ground. For the first time in a long time, excitement was building heading into training camp. The roster had been overhauled. Gone are the knuckleheads and underachievers that not only made the Wizards hard to watch for so many years, but hard to root for, too.
They were replaced with veterans such as Trevor Ariza, Emeka Okafor, A.J. Price (a career backup in his fourth season charged with running the point in Wall’s absence) Martell Webster and promising rookie Bradley Beal, who is leading the team in scoring. There’s also improving big man Kevin Seraphin, who started to come on last season and is averaging 9.7 points and 3.8 rebounds.
The 6-foot-11 Nene and the play-making Wall would serve as huge additions.
Wittman, when asked if doctors have given him a target date for Wall’s return, pursed his lips, shook his head and said, “I don’t have one, unless you’ve got one.”
Wall and the Wizards have no choice but to wait, and hope to keep from digging into an irreversible hole.
“Yeah, it’s tough, but nobody’s making any excuses,” said Wall, who averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 assists in his first two seasons. “We think we’ve got enough talent on this team to go out there and play with what we have. We just haven’t closed out games. We’ve been in a lot of games, we just haven’t closed them out. We believe in our teammates, some guys are injured, some guys are not, but it’s a great opportunity for other guys to step up and prove themselves.”