Well, there is good news on the John Wall injury front. We think. After a visit to the doctor today, it has essentially been announced that John Wall can “do more stuff.”
Specifically, via team press release and New York City orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Altchek:
“John’s examination today showed improvement in his stress injury that will allow him to begin ramping up his activity level. There is still some irritation in the knee which we have treated over his last several visits with a series of three lubricating Synvisc injections, the last of which was given today. He will continue to be evaluated on an ongoing basis.”
After originally diagnosing John Wall’s “pre-stress fracture” as something which would cause him to miss “approximately eight weeks” in late-September, the team has now announced … well, nothing.
“Approximately” two weeks after it was hoped that Wall would be back, there still is no timetable on when he might return. Instead, information on lubricated injections.
Whether this all could have somehow been avoided is still a debate. The Wizards, upon initial diagnosis, were happy that they caught the injury in its early stages. Certainly going forward, Wall is going to re-evaluate his summer workout program. No more dunking in the junk-game circuit seems likely.
Brian Clifton, longtime adviser to Wall, was quoted in a Washington Post piece by Michael Lee posted late Thursday night regarding today’s visit to Altchek. The article had a certain ‘prepare for the worst’ air to it. Clifton said, in closing:
“He’s cut from a different cloth. Physically, he does things and goes places and puts pressures and stresses on his body that most humans don’t. So, guys like him have to be very mindful of that and have to take your time and heal properly and come back when their body, not their mind, says that they should.”
It’s like John Wall’s abilities are so inhuman, extraordinarily human, that his human parts fall victim.
So in reality, any news on Wall’s injury was just punted. And don’t get it wrong, today’s news is much better than the alternative—surgery and no season. But the huge question mark hanging over the Washington franchise did not get any smaller today. We are approaching another lost season due to a knee injury, if this current season isn’t lost already—there’s a better chance for a snowy Christmas in D.C. (3%) than there currently is of the Wizards making the NBA playoffs (2.6%).
And while all teams deal with injuries, the Wizards over the past three seasons since drafting Wall as the face of the franchise, clearly have not been constructed to withstand fallen stars of any cloth.
And thus, a true evaluation of Ernie Grunfeld’s abilities continue to get an out, for now. His re-tooled 2009-10 team under new coach Flip Saunders, with Mike Miller and Randy Foye in fold, started out 11-21. That was quickly swept under the rug after the suspension of Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton due to guns in the locker room. And now, with a 3-16 record and another enduring period of time without a star Wizards point guard due to a knee, the narrative of injuries continues to be recycled. Team brass can be content with sighing and saying, ‘What if?’
Team owner Ted Leonsis, via his blog, before the Wall injury news was released to the public:
We have four players in our rotation – Wall, Price, Booker and Ariza – who are not in the lineup, and Nene’s minutes are limited as he plays his way back into game shape.
As I look at box scores from around the league, I see many games that can be considered blowouts, but our team has been very competitive and we have had plenty of fourth-quarter opportunities. We have lost, as an example, 11 games by seven or fewer points. Our record is our record – I’m not denying that – but we are building a strong foundation of a team that is dedicated, plays committed team defense and has high character.
Hang in there, Wizards fans. The bumpy ride of the NBA’s bastard franchise continues.