Wall looks to contribute this season
Wizards guard John Wall remains unable to participate in full practices because of residual swelling in his left knee, but coach Randy Wittman said he hopes that will change during the team’s upcoming two-game road trip.
Following Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks at VerizonCenter, the Wizards will visit the Orlando Magic on Wednesday and the Detroit Pistons on Friday.
The start of Wall’s third NBA season has been delayed because of a stress injury to his left knee. He received a lubricant injection on Friday and Wittman said Wall is still experiencing swelling.
“The doctors still want him to wait with the inflammation that’s in there from putting a shot in,” Wittman said.
Wittman said Wall’s teammates have been “very supportive” while waiting for their star guard to return to full practices.
“They’ve been trying to keep his spirits alive and push him along,” Wittman said. “He’s out there every day with them and now he’ll travel with us and hopefully now he’ll be able to start doing some things each day more and more.”
In other injury news, Wittman said forward Trevor Ariza is “really progressing” from the strained calf muscle he suffered in the Wizards’ big win over the Miami Heat on Dec. 4. With four games in five nights, Wittman intimated Ariza may need to wait until after Christmas to return to the lineup.
“With that injury we want to get him on the practice floor running around and not just throw him out there on a game day,” Wittman said. “We don’t have any practice time this week, but he’s doing more things -- shooting on the floor, a little jogging.”
Nene, who sat out Saturday night’s 102-72 loss in Miami with pain in his foot, is expected to play against the Hawks tonight. The Wizards are 3-7 with Nene in the lineup this season and 0-11 without him.
Hawkish opponent: The Hawks have beaten the Wizards twice this season, 101-100 in overtime on Nov. 21 and 105-95 on Dec. 7. Both games were in Atlanta.
“We’ve been right there both games,” Wittman said. “That should be a good thing in our guys’ minds, knowing what we have to do against this team to win.”
The Hawks lead the East in forcing turnovers, averaging 17 a game.