- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 9, 2017

LOS ANGELES — John Wall was on his stomach when his face scrunched. The whirring from a massage machine being pushed into his left heel had caused the pain to run from his foot to his face. The irritation was part of a pregame process to get Wall, who has missed seven consecutive games and was about to miss his eighth, loose before he worked on the floor.

About 15 minutes later, Wall walked onto the floor with his headphones on. He took a variety of shots before shedding the headphones in order to work against the Wizards‘ player development staff. His ear rings were still in when he began to sweat after working 1-on-1 and 2-on-2. Because of the odd start time for the Los Angeles Clippers and Wizards, 12:30 Pacific, the Wizards did not practice Saturday. But, Wall was still able to get work in the day after practicing in a 5-on-5 setting for the first time since platelet-rich plasma and viscosupplementation injections Nov. 25.

Wall on the floor the morning after his first contact since the injections is a promising sign for his pending return. At the earliest, it would be Tuesday in Brooklyn. Wednesday at Capital One Arena against the Memphis Grizzlies appears the most likely point. Wall expects to practice again Monday in Brooklyn ahead of the Wizards‘ game against the Nets on Tuesday, the first in a back-to-back set.

As for how Wall felt Saturday morning?

“I felt great,” Wall told The Washington Times.

Wall rarely misses games, let alone seven consecutive games. It has made him a bit crazed. He has gone from on crutches the day of the injection, to walking, to work on the anti-gravity treadmill, to finally on the floor Thursday, Friday and Saturday. If Wizards coach Scott Brooks and the training staff came to Wall Saturday and said he could play if he wants, they would have had the four-time All-Star point guard on the floor.

“I’m playing,” Wall said his response would have been. Then he smiled.

Instead, Wall did his lonely court work without his teammates and left the floor when they arrived in their uniforms to warmup. Brooks said Wall remains on a day-to-day protocol. Wall echoed that.

“Just taking it slowly, but surely,” Wall said. “Listening to everything they’re saying. Guys are doing their job, playing well. We’re still winning. It’s no panic button or something like that.”

Wall called being out “the worst.” He said finally getting to put some work in Thursday rescued his psyche.

“I was ready to lose my mind,” Wall said.

In Wall’s absence, Tim Frazier and Tomas Satoransky have handled the point guard duties. The two-week span may finally be enough to get Satoransky, who has played very well, minutes as the backup point guard when Wall returns. However, Brooks again suggested Saturday that Satoransky could play minutes as a shooting guard or forward when Wall returns, even possibly putting him on the floor at the same time as Frazier instead of picking one or the other.

As for Wall, he’s just happy to be close to a return.

“The injury happened, stuff happened,” Wall said. “One thing about this team is the next man is up and guys are stepping up and playing bigger in their roles.”

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