This is a good sign for John Wall and the Washington Wizards, and something that’ll help take all of our minds off his recent sartorial catastrophe and the immediate social-media firestorm that ensued because of it.
According to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com, Wall was testing out his injured hand by dribbling and taking shots before the team’s flight to Atlanta on Tuesday, although head coach Randy Whittman reiterated that Wall did not, in fact, participate in team practice.
“He didn’t do anything today,” Wittman said. “We watched film and did some walk-through stuff. He’s again moving in the right direction. Swelling is down again. Minimal swelling. He wanted to dribble the ball a little bit and get the feel of it first. That is kind of what he did today.
“[The swelling is] still a little but nothing [like] where it was,” Wittman said. “The doctors wanted to re-assess things after [the swelling has gone down]. What he is doing now is fine according to them, to get a little feel for it, to see how it feels from a pain standpoint. That’s it.”
Wall has missed three straight games and is listed as questionable for Game 5 against the Hawks on Wednesday after suffering five non-displaced fractures in his left hand in Game 1 of their second-round series May 3. There’s been some controversy surrounding the immediate diagnosis and treatment of his injury by team physicians, who initially called it a “bad, bad sprain” after X-rays came back negative. Questions regarding this also led to an angry exchange between Whittman and reporters last Friday.
The Wizards-Hawks Eastern Conference semifinals series is currently tied 2-2. The Wizards have experienced all sorts of issues in Wall’s absence, including a breakout game for Jeff Teague, who scored 26 points and eight assists in Game 4 Monday. They’ve also been leaning heavily on Bradley Beal, who scored a career playoff high 34 points in the loss.
A big problem has been the inconsistent play of the Wizards’ front-court duo, which included a 3-point outing from Marcin Gortat on Monday, who shot just 1-for-7 for the field. Even worse, before his 17-point outburst in Game 3, Nene had scored a grand total of two points — off a pair of free throws — through the first two games and had gone 0-for-9 from the field.
The Hawks’ front-court trio of DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap and Al Horford have thoroughly outplayed the Wizards’ big men so far, and it doesn’t look like Washington will find an answer soon, even if Wall does somehow miraculously return this series.
(Via ESPNNew York.com)