Does loss of Wall change expectations?

Does loss of Wall change expectations?
September 28, 2012, 9:19 pm
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Entering his third year in the NBA, John Wall wanted to be bigger, stronger, faster and more consistent with his jump shot.

Its why he hired the services of Los Angeles trainer and shooting guru Rob McClanaghan, who worked extensively with NBA stars Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love.

I thought it was a great chance to try something different, Wall said Friday before revealing he will miss the first month of the Wizards 2012-13 season with a non-traumatic stress injury of his left knee.

Wall added 10 pounds over the summer, beefing up to 205 pounds, before he began feeling discomfort in his left knee near the end of August. A week later he underwent an MRI that, according to Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld, revealed some bursitis, or inflammation of the bursa sac, in Walls left knee.

When Wall's discomfort continued through his September workouts, the club sent him to orthopedic specialist Dr. David Altchek in New York on Thursday night and a second MRI revealed the early stages of traumatic stress in his left knee cap.

I didnt change up anything, Wall said of his summer workouts. This is something that happens when you work out really hard.

As part of his rehab Grunfeld said Wall will participate in non-impact strengthening by swimming, running in a pool and gradually working his way up to a treadmill.

Wall, 22, called it a minor setback and Grunfeld called it a bump in the road, but both made it very clear they do not want Walls injury to have a lasting impact on this season or his promising career.

I want to take my time and make sure I dont force myself to come back too soon, Wall said.

You have to look at the big picture and the big picture is that Johns going to be with us the majority of the season and help us get to where we want to go, Grunfeld said.

That would be a berth in the 2013 NBA playoffs. Wizards coach Randy Wittman was asked if those expectations are now altered with the clubs best player scheduled to miss at least the first 10 games of the season.

I dont think so, he said. With the changes we made were a deeper team. Obviously, were going to miss John. Theres nobody we can go out and sign or bring in here thats going to do the things Johns capable of doing.

But that doesnt mean other people wont have the opportunity to step up. Im still very positive about this season and the people we added.

Wall will continue to take part in team meetings and will be responsible for learning the new sets being implemented by Wittman and his coaching staff. And when he returns, Wittman said his expectations of the third-year guard will be no different than they are now.

The good thing about this is that we caught it when we did, Wittman said. Its not the best-case scenario, but we also have to look at this in a positive way.

I still expect a lot out of John and thats not going to change. Its just going to start a little bit later. Were lucky that we took the precautionary step to make sure there was nothing there. We thought maybe it was bursitis and were lucky we got it before there was a fracture or anything of that nature.

Wall said hes confident his teammates can carry the load for the first month of the season, when the Wizards play five of their first seven, and six of their first 10 games, on the road.

The new coaching staff we have and my teammates are going to hold it down and play the best they can, Wall said. Maybe some of the younger guys can help and have a good season while Im not there.