Wall: ‘Probably get tired in 30 seconds’
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
WASHINGTON — For much of the season, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall sat on the bench, in jacket and tie, next to assistant coach Sam Cassell.
Out since late September with a stress injury to his left kneecap, Wall watched the Wizards’ losses pile up — a franchise-record 12 consecutive to start the season and another eight-game losing streak at the end of a December and a league-worst 5-28 record overall.
Wall doesn’t have to watch anymore. After months of three months of rest and rehab and about a week of practice with physical contact, Wall will make his season debut Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks.
“Not playing for three, four months was tough,” Wall told USA TODAY Sports. “I don’t know how I would take it – like players that are retired or their careers are over with.
“It’s tough to sit out. When you love the game, you’re so itching to play but you’ve got to make sure everything is healthy and right to the point where you want to be.”
After an initial eight-week timetable for his absence turned into nearly 14 weeks, Wall can’t wait to play, and the Wizards can’t wait to have him on the court. His speed, ability to drive to the rim and find open shooters will make the Wizards better. He wants to show off his jump shot, which he worked on with shooting coach Dave Hopla.
“I haven’t played in so long so you’re going to be anxious and excited, so I’ll probably get tired in 30 seconds because I haven’t played in so long,” Wall said. “I’m excited to be out there with my teammates and just have fun and finally get a chance to play with the teammates I wanted to play with all season.
“It’s a blessing, like another dream come true. That’s what I prayed for and why I took my time to make sure I was healthy.”
On Friday, Wall completed three consecutive days of physical practices and said, “I feel good. I didn’t have any setbacks during practice and went hard for the last three days so I feel good.”