Before the Washington Wizards step on the court for the 36th time this season without their star player John Wall, the team gave encouraging news to his return.
Wall participated in his first 5-on-5 practice (with contact) on Saturday. He underwent surgery on his left knee seven weeks ago. No timetable for his return has been announce, but head coach Scott Brooks’ words may lend the thought of the day Wall gets back on the court in a game.
“He’ll be back in no time,” Brooks said per Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. “As a coach, I like to see him out there … He gives us that edge.”
Wall has been out of action since Jan. 25 when he underwent the surgery to correct the ailing knee. He had 10 games earlier in the season after receiving PRP injections. However, swelling resurfaced causing his latest stint out of action. After consulting with doctors, he opted for the arthroscopic surgery.
The Wizards are slated to host the New York Knicks on Sunday evening, entering the game as sixth in the Eastern Conference standings. They are 15-10 in the 25 games Wall has missed since the surgery. They started off to a 9-2 start but a 6-8 record in their last 14 games shows the team may have ran its course without the five-time All-Star. Brooks says Wall gives them an edge and raises the Wizards’ play to another level.
“He brings the juice. He brings the energy level up. We practice pretty hard and our guys have great habits but when you’re talking about one of the best players in the league, that raises the level in the gym,” Brooks said. “The awareness level’s up, the energy, the attention to detail, everything is up. When you’re going against him, you better be locked in because he can put you in some pretty embarrassing positions.”
Wall had been hampered by the bothersome knee much of the season since initially injuring the knee in a Nov. 7 game against Dallas. Despite instances of poor play that has been contributed to his injury, he is averaged 19.4 points, 9.3 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.1 blocks this season.
The 9.3 assists were second among qualified players in the NBA and his 1.1 led all qualified point guards. He also shot a career-high of 35.8 percent from three-point range. The fact his numbers this season are considered down from his previous campaigns illustrates just how much of an impact a healthy Wall provides to the Wizards.