After Heat win, evolution of a new Wizards team?
Following Thursday's practice, Randy Wittman updated John Wall's injury timetable, retroactively that is.
As written in this space earlier this week, asking the Wizards coach for an update on his point guard's recovery from a knee stress injury has become a near daily exercise, especially now that original projection of approximately eight weeks has come and gone. With a nod to the movie Lincoln, this Thursday marks five fortnights or in modern terms, 10 weeks.
From Wittman's perspective, that means there is another two weeks of leeway in that initial estimate.
"8-12 [weeks] is what I thought was originally said," said Wittman, who consistently volleys an array of half-joking, half-exasperated responses to the persistent Wall queries. Thursday was no exception, though not regarding the time frame.
Washington plays at Atlanta on Friday before hosting Golden State Saturday night.
The Wizards' initial press release used the approximate eight-week forecast. Over the proceeding weeks, 10 became the outer limit. That's why the questions have persisted. Well, that and Wall not playing or, according to the coach during previous press situations, practicing.
That's why on Thursday a new line of questioning started: will the Wizards be without John Wall all season.
"I’m not looking at it like that," a playfully startled Wittman exclaimed during a good natured, but inquisitive back-and-forth with the media on hand.
As for how he directs the team and preps for the weeks ahead without a clear gauge of Wall's return," Wittman said. "The only thing I can do is plan with what I’ve got. That’s what we’re doing. Obviously, we need John. We want John. I want John yesterday, but you’ve got to keep moving forward. That’s what we’re doing here and trying to do here. John’s not going to miss a beat on anything...We’re going to use him a lot like I did last year when he comes back. Obviously, the ability to quicken the pace all by himself."
Whenever the third-year speedster returns from his knee stress, Wittman doesn't want Wall stressed about being a potential savior.
"He has to be John Wall, that's it," Wittman said. "Being John Wall will make us a better team. He cannot feel the pressure of 'I'm back, now I have to turn this around.' I think he can help turn it around obviously because of his talents. Like I tell him, you just have to be John Wall and let the chips fall where they may after that. What you can bring to this team and what we're missing from you would be beneficial for our team. That's all he has to worry about."
What the rest of us can worry about or at least focus on now is this new...or updated...or previously known but not totally revealed time frame. Based on the upcoming schedule for the 2-13 Wizards, Wall would miss another eight games should he reach the full 12-week projection.
Washington starts a home-and-home series with the Pistons in Detroit on Dec. 21. If Wall's not back by then or a new update isn't made available, then questions about him playing at all this season will return.