- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 7, 2015

The fears surrounding John Wall’s swollen wrist came to fruition Thursday afternoon, when the Washington Wizards announced that the two-time all-star point guard has five non-displaced fractures in his left hand and wrist.

In a statement released shortly after practice, the team said the fractures were discovered Wednesday and Wall is still consulting with doctors. His status for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Verizon Center on Saturday is still to be determined. The series is tied, 1-1.

“We just have to move one day at a time,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “There’s no timetable for something like this I guess is the best way I can put this. We have to be prepared as a team to play without him. I think our guys are doing that. Again, knowing John, if there is a slight chance he can [play], he’s holding out for that. That’s the type of kid he is.”

Wall did not participate in any portion of practice Thursday and was not made available to reporters. He injured his left wrist in the second quarter of Game 1 against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday while bracing himself during a fall.

Though the 24-year-old initially believed the wrist was broken, X-rays taken at Phillips Arena in Atlanta that night came back negative, according to Wittman. The coach said Thursday that he believes another type of examination, perhaps an MRI or bone scan, revealed the break.

“You’re going to have to go talk to the doctor,” Wittman said. “He had a lot done here in the last couple of days.”


SEE ALSO: SNYDER: John Wall’s absence may also force Wizards to win without marquee talent


Wall was scratched from the lineup roughly an hour before Game 2 on Tuesday. He tried to warm up before the game but could not dribble effectively and instead watched Washington’s 106-90 loss from the bench. Afterwards, he was seen wearing a soft black cast in the locker room.

Wittman said the swelling in Wall’s wrist is just as much of a concern as the fractures. It also makes it difficult for the team to determine a timetable for his return.

“Who knows how long something like that is going to stay,” Wittman said of the swelling. “That would’ve been true today even if we didn’t have the report back of the broken bones. I mean, his hand’s just so big he can’t handle a ball, he can’t control anything.”

Shooting guard Bradley Beal had not heard about Wall’s diagnosis when he made a scheduled appearance on 106.7 The Fan later Thursday afternoon. He called the news “disappointing” and “kind of heartbreaking.” Wittman said it was “disheartening” while adding that it will now give other players an opportunity to step up, Ramon Sessions among them.

Sessions started in Wall’s place Tuesday and scored 21 points, his highest scoring output in a calendar year. He said he practiced with the starting unit Thursday for the first time since arriving in Washington. In the likely event that Wall is unable to play Saturday, Sessions is in line to start again. A 29-year-old veteran acquired from the Sacramento Kings earlier this season, he said his mentality does not change when he is in the starting lineup.

“That’s one thing since I’ve been here, they’ve always told me to be aggressive and play my game, whether it’s with the first unit or the second unit,” Sessions said. “So I was comfortable out there. It’s not my first or second year in the league. I’ve been around a little bit.”

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Wizards are 10-40 over the past five years without Wall in the lineup. Veteran forward Paul Pierce said no single player can fill the point guard’s role. Everyone shares that responsibility, he said, including himself.

“It’s definitely got to come from not only me, but there are a lot of other guys that have an opportunity to step up,” Pierce explained. “By no means do we feel like this series is over or our goals change. We’re going to continue to go out there, reach for our goals and continue to fight each and every night.”

The severity of Wall’s injury is a disappointing blow for the Wizards, who are aiming to reach the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1979. Yet it is also a trying personal moment for Wall, stalling a brilliant postseason in which he was averaging 17.4 points and 12.6 assists per game.

“I’m not BS’ing you guys. I’ve been around this game for 30 years. He’s the toughest, the toughest kid I’ve been around in terms of the physical pounding that he takes,” Wittman said. “Playing through injuries, playing through not feeling good. Every coach would hope he had 15 of those. He’s special. That’s what’s disappointing.”

NOTE: Beal said his previously sprained right ankle was “throbbing a little bit” after Game 2 on Tuesday night but did not bother him during Thursday’s practice. He is confident he will able to play Saturday. “I didn’t feel a thing at all,” he said. “I’m pretty much back to 100 [percent].”


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