Standing on the Wizards' main court after Monday's practice session, John Wall did something he hasn't done for a while — he left his feet to put up a shot. In other words, he jumped.
Wall hasn't played this season because of a stress injury to his left knee, but he has been cleared to "ramp up his activity" by Dr. David Altchek, who examined him Friday.
After his teammates left the court, Washington's third-year point guard did something else he hasn't done recently. He talked with reporters.
"It's been very tough for me because I want to play basketball," Wall said. "[It's the] first time I've really been injured, sitting out a long time. But [I'm] just trying to stay strong. When you have the opportunity to hear some type of good news I got more like a smile on my face, a little bit."
Wall says he's still waiting for the pain and swelling to subside but adds that the pain has lessened considerably from when he first injured the knee just before training camp. During his examination, Wall received the last of a series of three injections.
Wall doesn't have a timetable for when he can resume practicing, or do any contact activity, so he's taking his recovery day by day.
"I was kind of doing a little bit of shooting before some games, before I came back and got re-evaluated," Wall said, "so I'm just trying to wait and see what I can get back to doing."
It's been a difficult few months for Wall, having to watch from the sideline while Washington stumbled to a franchise-worst 3-18 start. He knows fans are looking to him to provide some type of rescue for this ailing team, but knows he can't put too much pressure on himself when he does return.
"I don't think I have to be heroic," Wall said, "but I'm still going to have to play at a certain time limit whenever I come back, because I'm not going to be fully in the best of shape."
He's more disappointed than anything because he had high hopes for this year.
"We had a lot of new guys added to the team, and I feel like our team was better and we had a lot of goals set," he said. "We've still got them set, but it's tough when you've got to sit there and watch and you can't help out your team."
Coach Randy Wittman was glad to see Wall answer a few questions, since he's growing a bit weary of trying to answer them himself. Wall wasn't able to practice Monday but should be able to go in a limited fashion Tuesday.
"The number of days is three or four after the shot before it takes effect, so they're looking at hopefully [Tuesday]," Wittman said. "I think that he can start doing stuff."
Exactly what "stuff," Wittman isn't clear on yet. Like his point guard, he's taking things day by day.
"Doctors confuse me sometimes," Wittman said. "I sprain my ankle, and they say it's going to be two to four weeks. How do you know it's going to be two to four weeks? It just depends on how you heal and stuff. Some people heal quicker, some don't. It's frustrating."
Adding to Wittman's frustration is watching injuries continue to pile up. He's also without Wall's backup A.J. Price (fractured right hand), Trevor Booker (strained right knee) and Trevor Ariza (strained left calf). Nene (plantar fasciitis in left foot) also is playing hurt and has missed 11 games.
"If anybody knows an exorcist that can come into this building " Wittman joked. "I don't believe in that stuff, but I'm not going to stop it."'
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