John Wall gives CSN the latest on his knee injury
If Monday’s post-practice jump shots were an example of John Wall ramping it up, it might be some time before the 22-year-old franchise point guard is back running the floor for the 3-18 Wizards.
Three days after New York orthopedic surgeon David Altchek said that Wall’s left knee was “showing improvement” that would allow him to begin “ramping up his activity level,” Wall was launching 3-pointers with very little elevation and showed no signs of being able to run up and down the court with the blazing speed that made him the first pick of the 2010 NBA draft.
“This [injury] is kind of tough because you can’t cut, you can’t run through a screen, you can’t jump like you want to,” Wall told reporters Monday at Verizon Center. “So you’re basically going out there just wasting your time.”
During his interview Wall described his injury as a stress fracture of his left knee cap, but a team spokesman said it is actually a stress injury and not a fracture. Wall said there is also cartilage damage that needs to heal.
Wall said his injury is not as severe as the one suffered by Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin, who as a rookie in 2009 fractured his left patella in the Clippers’ final preseason game. Griffin, who landed hard on his knee cap after a dunk, rested the stress fracture for seven weeks but when he saw no progress, it was decided in January of 2010 he would undergo season-ending knee surgery.
“He broke his knee cap,” Wall said. “I think mine was … in the beginning stage of breaking my knee cap. It was lucky I caught it before it broke and I would already know what my timetable was -- missing the whole season. And then I had a little bit of a cartilage problem underneath my knee cap.”
Wall received his third of three lubricating Synvisc injections on Friday and said he hopes that when the swelling in his knee subsides, hopefully within a few days, he will be able to increase his physical activity with minimal pain.
“That’s a 50-50 chance you got,” Wall said. “You never know how it’s going to go. Hopefully, it heals the right way and I’ve been doing the right things I’m supposed to do, just rest, do my exercises, try to stay in shape as best as possible without going out and injuring myself and hurting myself for the rest of my career. I want to be out there and play basketball with my teammates, but I just got to make sure I’m fully healthy to do that.”
Wall said he’s hoping the final hurdle in his comeback attempt is allowing the swelling to subside and testing the stability of his knee. He said there is no timetable for when that will occur.
In the case of Griffin, a full season off the NBA hardwood was the best therapy. He returned the following season to average 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game for the Clippers.
Wall says he does not want to contemplate that scenario, focusing only on returning to the Wizards sometime this season.
“You don’t want to miss a whole season,” he said. “If it comes to it, you have to, but I’m trying not to think that far ahead.”
Without Wall the Wizards own the NBA’s worst record and have tried four different players at the point guard position – Jannero Pargo, Shaun Livingston, A.J. Price and most recently, Jordan Crawford. Still, they rank last in the NBA in scoring with 89.8 points per game.
Wall said losing Price to a broken hand might have been the most difficult blow for a team that, at least physically, is coming apart at the seams.
“I can’t even tell you,” Wall said when asked how he felt when he saw Price go down. “Nothing’s been going the right way for us this year. We’ve had a lot of guys getting injured and we didn’t need something like this to happen. Sometimes you just have to deal with it.”
Despite all of the injuries – power forward Nene has played in just 10 of the team’s first 21 games – Wall said he believes the Wizards are capable of climbing out of the Eastern Conference basement and into the playoff race.
“You gotta find a way to get a long winning streak, that’s the only way,” he said. “You’ve got to take it game by game, but we’ve got to find a way to win probably eight, nine, 10 games in a row to at least get to four or five games away from .500.”
Right now, the Wizards would be happy getting a win Tuesday night when the 14-7 Atlanta Hawks visit Verizon Center.
Before the game, Wizards coach Randy Wittman may be performing his own witchcraft to expel whatever demons are haunting his team.
“If anybody knows an exorcist that can come into this building,” Wittman said with a smile. “I don’t believe in that stuff, but I’m not going to stop it.”