John Wall cleared, season debut on Saturday

John Wall cleared, season debut on Saturday
January 11, 2013, 2:45 pm
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Wall is feeling good and ready to make season debut

Three straight days of practice are in the books for John Wall with no setbacks reported. Barring any overnight pain or the doctor's flashing the hold sign, the Wizards point guard is ready for his season debut Saturday against Atlanta.

Just don't expect elaborate pregame dances to mark the occasion.

"Nope. Just chilling," the third-year guard and noted Dougie expert said. "Coming out cool."

More importantly, Wall won't be chilling on the sideline in fancy suits for much longer.

[Update, 5:41 p.m. - The Wizards announced on Twitter that Wall has received medical clearance and will play on Saturday]

"It’s the biggest feeling. You know I haven’t played in so long, so I’m going to be anxious and super-excited, so I’ll probably get tired in probably 30 seconds, because I haven’t played in so long," Wall said following Friday's practice. "But it’s exciting to be out there with my teammates, have fun and play with the team I wanted to play with all season."

As for how many minutes fans can expect to see the speedy distributor on the court, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said he anticipates taking his initial orders from the doctors, perhaps for a couple of weeks. There are also ways the coach and player must help the cause.

"The thing he has to temper a little bit is he's going to be going a 100 miles per hour knowing John," Wittman said. "He's got to temper that, but you also want him to play the way he plays. I don't want to pull back on any of that. But hey, it's a good problem to have.

"His conditioning is going to be a thing that I make sure I keep a good eye on. That when I see the point of exhaustion I got to get him in and out."

Even though catching his breath might be an issue at times, Wall's said he's been "surprised" about his level of progression, both physically and as the offense's conductor.

"Getting my legs underneath me, but just working the offense, being the point guard, finding my teammates and knowing guys’ sweet spots is pretty easy to me."

As for those legs, some already believe they are up to speed and ready for the Wizards desired fast tempo.

"That dude fast," said Nene, who returned to practice on Friday after sitting out the previous two sessions. "He look like a little bull. He is fast. I’m excited. I’m excited to see his run, to jump and I hope the [opposing] big men watch out because if they don’t help on him, he going to dunk."

So yes, everyone is excited for Wall's return. Even though the Wizards enter Saturday's game coming off a win, 5-28 has been a trying experience. Nobody would be surprised if the former No. 1 overall draft pick articulated or internally felt pressure to perform, pressure to lead the owners of the NBA's worst record out of the league's basement and attempt to do so every time he touches the ball.

Fortunately for those monitoring his physical progression, that's not how Wall views his return.

"No pressure at all. Just go out there and play my game. Don’t do too much, even though I know it’s my first game back. Just let the game come to me," Wall said. "I know that’s the main thing I’ve got to do for my first game back."

Notes...Despite dealing with right knee tendonitis as his body overcompensated for his lingering left foot injury, Nene expects to play against the Hawks. Jordan Crawford (sore left ankle) missed his third straight practice and remains questionable to face his former team. ...Wittman said swingman Cartier Martin's suffered no structural damage, but his return from a hyper-extended left knee suffered on Sunday against Miami is "going to be a little while. What's a little while? A week, 10 days, two weeks. He had a significant sprain. He took a good shot in Miami. He's still very sore."