Washington Wizards’ All-Star guard John Wall is slated to miss at least a month and a half of action due to a lingering left knee problem. The sensational talent is reportedly scheduled to have arthroscopic debridement surgery in Cleveland at the hands of Dr. Richard D. Parker, according to The Washington Post’s Candace Buckner.
ESPN confirmed the rumors about Wall Tuesday morning. In fact, they seem to suggest that his timetable for return could be closer to the two-month mark.
Via Sporting News contributor Bob Hille, the Wizards’ starting point guard has been experiencing pesky knee pain for a while. It was originally injured during an early November contest and has never been quite the same since. While he has been valiantly fighting through the pain, things reached a boiling point yesterday. As a result, Wall elected to meet with team doctors and have an MRI. Shortly after that, it became obvious after a visit to Cleveland that surgery was necessary.
Despite that, the ongoing left knee trauma appeared to have adverse effects prior to Monday. Wall did not partake in the Wizards’ 129-104 triumph over the lowly Atlanta Hawks on Saturday because of soreness in his knee.
Hille’s piece goes into further depth regarding the soreness. He explains that it has led to on-and-off treatment since that early November game.
“And right now, the knee is sore. [Scott] Brooks revealed that Wall needed to have it drained ‘a few times,’ most recently ‘maybe a few weeks ago.’ Wall thus far has missed 10 games because of the knee and 12 overall this season.”
What is of even greater concern is that this season is not the first time Wall has experienced left knee problems. Optimus Dime has a history of knee discomfort. SB Nation writer Tim Cato sheds light on Wall’s past in a recent post he compiled.
Cato recalls that surgery was performed on both of Wall’s knees during the 2016 offseason. This operation was also performed by Dr. Parker. Additionally, Washington’s franchise player missed over 30 games at the start of the 2012-2013 campaign because of left knee bugs. However, the latter was a case where surgery was not required.
At any rate, Wall’s persistent knee issues are hair-raising. While he is still pretty young at 27 years of age, a pattern is clearly developing. Alas, it is not a pattern of the good variety.
A few days back, Wall acknowledged this indirectly but admitted that his knee often made it difficult to be consistent on the court. In Buckner’s piece, Wall elaborates on the struggles associated with that.
“‘It’s affecting me now but I still go out there and still have good games,'” Wall said on Saturday, before missing the Wizards’ game against the Atlanta Hawks. “‘But one game you might be feeling great, then the next game you might feel, like, terrible.'”
Wall was selected as an All-Star for the fifth time in his NBA career earlier this month. He was going to be a reserve on LeBron James’ roster. Granted, his numbers are a tad worse than they were last year, but his numbers are still All-Star worthy. The 27-year-old is averaging 19.4 points, 9.3 dimes, and 3.6 boards a night.
Nevertheless, the injury will force him to be sidelined for the mid-February showcase. Consequently, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will need to find a replacement in the near future. NJ.com’s Zack Rosenblatt believes that guards Kemba Walker and Ben Simmons are the most likely candidates to fulfill that role.
The news is a rather crushing blow to a team very much in the mix for a playoff spot. Presently, Washington is tied with the Milwaukee Bucks for the East’s number five seed.
Thankfully, the Wizards still have another great player in All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal. Even so, John Wall is clearly the conductor of the Wizards’ train. The above mentioned 9.3 assists per game are the highest average in the Eastern Conference. Therefore, the squad’s offense is not going to be the same during his extended absence.
To add insult to injury, it does not help that the Wizards will be facing many playoff-bound teams during Wall’s recovery. Tonight is a prime example as Washington is squaring off against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder happen to be riding an eight-game winning streak.
Injuries are part of the game, though, as are tough, brutal stretches over an 82-game season. All the Wizards can do at the moment is cross their fingers that Wall can come back from this pesky knee injury as strong as ever in time for a playoff push.