John Wall's taking what the defense gives him
When Otto Porter went down with a right hip flexor strain Sept. 13, he knew it would be a while before he got back on the court with the Wizards. He just didn't anticipate that it wouldn't be until Monday that he'd finally practice again.
"The way it happened, I knew something was wrong right then and there. I knew it wasn't a one-week, two-week type of thing," said Porter, the Wizards' No. 3 overall draft pick in June. "But I really didn't know it was going to be this long."
Porter participated fully, as did Chris Singleton (left foot surgery) and Trevor Ariza (right hamstring strain). Al Harrington, who has been out since Nov. 13 with right knee soreness, did not. Ariza is the only one of the group that will play in Tuesday's home game vs. the Los Angeles Lakers (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).
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Coach Randy Wittman didn't expect to see Porter, who had what the team called right hamstring "tightness" that kept him out of most of the Las Vegas summer league, on the court Monday.
"More bodies," Wittman exclaimed. "I thought we were having tryouts or something down there. … I knew he was doing more and more. ... Doctors looked at him said it was fine. I didn't know it would be today. I thought Chris might go today. I thought Trevor might be back today. I'm pleasantly surprised that it was today (for Porter)."
This doesn't mean, however, that Porter will be playing in a game soon. It's just the first step in the process to getting back. He's still day-to-day and there's no target date.
"It looked like he's been out three-and-a-half months. He's got to get out there now and get his legs under him," Wittman said. "Number two, getting familiar with what we're doing. It's easy to sit there and think as you're watching you know what's going on until now it's game speed and action. He's not very familiar yet with what we're doing. Repetition, conditioning. The last thing you what to do is throw him out there not in good enough condition and he gets hurt again. Those are the kind of things you want to stay away from. You get him healthy, get him in shape, see what happens."
Porter heard the questions about a strain taking this long to heal. But he had to be practical about it.
"It was frustrating at times where I felt like I was getting ready to go over that hump and then something else kind of knocked me back down," he said. "Now I can build onto this in the next couple of days. I am looking to get back in shape, stay fine-tuned."
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The decision to ease Porter back was a mutual decision.
'I got to take it one day at a time. I can't overdo practice. If I get tired I got to let them know, pull me back," Porter said.
Other times, it was the Wizards' athletic training staff.
"When I feel good and want to go out there it's, 'Hold on, hold on.' … Then when they want to push me (I'd say), 'I know I don't feel right.' It's a team thing."