In one of the unfortunate hamhanded moments in the otherwise revered film, “The Godfather: Part II,” Kay Corleone says to her husband Michael, “You once told me, ‘In five years the Corelone family will be completely legitimate.’ That was seven years ago.”
Diane Keaton’s character has nothing on Washington Wizard fans. At the time their franchise player John Wall went down with a left knee (patella) injury, they were told the 2010 No. 1 draft pick would be out eight weeks. That was 10 weeks ago.
Ten weeks ago, with Washington sputtering along at 2-14, with head coach Randy Wittman’s job hanging by threads, with attendance near the NBA’s bottom (28th of 30) and the Wizards’ offense even worse (a 97.6 offensive rating that ranks dead last).
Now Wall’s recovery time has been adjusted to “8 to 12 weeks,” according to Michael Lee‘s item in the Washington Post Friday. That buys them all another fortnight, though there really is nothing to be done if Wall continues to sit and watch and squirm even beyond that 12-week mark. Wall will be ready to play when he’s ready to play – you can’t hold rehab and recovery to a deadline.
All Washington really can do is help Wall cope with the frustration he feels and be as ready for his return as it can be. The 2-14 Wizards have gone 2-3 over the last two weeks (including the big upset of Miami Tuesday), compared to 0-11 before that, so it’s unlikely they would be way better had their preferred point guard returned to action according to the initial eight-week prognosis.
Heading into Saturday’s game vs. Golden State, Wittman told Lee the team’s style of play is set up to minimize the load on Wall when he does return, first seeking to get his legs and game under him.
“Like I tell him, ‘You just have to be John Wall and let the chips fall where they may after that,’ ” Wittman said. ” ‘What you can bring and what we’re missing from you would be beneficial for our team.’ That’s all he has to worry about.”
Wall can leave it to the other Wizards to pick up their pace to play alongside him. To the doctors as to whether this latest injury could recur or hamper him all season. And to fans and experts as to what this means to his career, Wall’s third season in three as a pro in which he’ll play 69 or fewer games.
Last year gets an asterisk, of course, due to the lockout; Wall suited up for the entire regular season. But the NBA traditionally counts its games 82 at a time and the warehoused Wizard has yet to come close to that (69 as a rookie, 66 in 2011-12). He’ll max out somewhere south of 59 if he’s not back in 10 days.
Long-term durability, of course, is less a concern right now than Wall’s longer-than-expected recovery.