Wizardsí John Wall returns for season debut Saturday
John Wall, who has been out with a stress injury to the kneecap, helplessly watched as the Washington Wizards started off with a franchise worst 12 game losing streak; and experienced the déjà vu again in December losing eight consecutive games. But after months of rehab and week of full contact practice, John Wall is ready to return for his regular season debut against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.
"Not playing for three, four months was tough. I don't know how I would take it – like players that are retired or their careers are over with,” said John Wall. “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."
The Washington Wizards had John Wall initially ruled out for eight weeks, which later stretched into 14. Naturally, the Washington Wizards are going to be cautious reintroducing John wall to the game to avoid injuries. Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman said he’ll be keeping an eye on John Wall’s conditioning as he begins finding his legs underneath him. Randy Wittman indicated that John Wall will be playing limited minutes on Saturday.
Friday was the third consecutive day that John Wall participated in full contact practice.
"I feel good,” John Wall said after Friday’s practice. “I didn't have any setbacks during practice and went hard for the last three days so I feel good."
John Wall’s speed, ability to drive to the rim and spot open shooter will be of great assist to the Washington Wizards.
"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," said John Wall. "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.”
John Wall has been patient coming off the bench, utilizing the time to develop on his jump shot and learn from his teammates’ mistakes as well as struggles.
"Just knowing how my team plays, knowing guys' sweet spots and knowing where guys like the ball," John Wall said of his experience of bench. "I can give some guys a better opportunity to get out in the open court and finish a lot easier and just get us easier baskets.”
Injuries have been piling on the Washington Wizards who have been either missing or had Nene limited with plantar fasciitis during the course of the week, while Trevor Booker has also been out since mid-November with a strained right knee. Trevor Booker is also expected to return on Saturday.
"I knew what situation I was coming into. You don't sugarcoat anything," Wall said. "You go out there and play basketball. … It just takes time to build.”
"No pressure at all. Just go out there and play my game…just help my teammates," continued john Wall. "Don't try to do too much even though I know it's my first game back.”