After hearing the news that hed miss the next eight weeks with a stress injury to his left knee, Wizards guard John Wall turned off his cell phone and sat alone with his thoughts.
The whole ride back to D.C. I didnt talk to anybody, Wall said of his Thursday night trip back to Washington.
On Monday, Wall joined his teammates at Verizon Center, where the Wizards held their annual media day session. Wall posed for photos and dribbled a basketball, but for the foreseeable future he can do little else.
I cant do anything, he said. I cant run. I cant jump. Its kind of tough being in the gym. You cant pick up a basketball. All you can do is stand still dribbling.
So what does the Wizards franchise player do during his free time?
Play video games, sleep, play video games, Wall said.
For the record, Walls favorites are Call of Duty, Madden and NBA2K, but he thinks there can be improvements on the digital version of John Wall.
I like myself in 2K12, Wall said. But I think 2K13 needs to give me a lot more bounce so I can dunk on people. Thats what I want to do.
In all likelihood, it could be December before Wizards fans see the real John Wall dunking a basketball. The early prognosis has him sidelined until Thanksgiving, meaning the Wizards will be forced to find a way to win without their star guard for at least their first 10 games.
With training camp set to open on Tuesday at George Mason University, coach Randy Wittman will try to fill the void with Jordan Crawford, rookie Bradley Beal, A.J. Price, Sheldon Mack, rookie Steve Gray and newly signed veteran Janerro Pargo.
Crawford, who finished third on the Wizards in scoring last season with 14.7 points, said hes capable of running the floor in Walls absence.
Its a setback because hes a major component on the team, but its time for everybody to step up until hes back, Crawford said. I can easily move into that until he gets back. Its a natural position for me, whatever the coaches ask.
Wall was taken first in the 2010 NBA draft and said Monday its once in a lifetime to find people like that. But he also said he believes the Wizards are deep enough to stay afloat while hes nursing his injury, the second serious setback of an NBA career entering its third year. As a rookie, Wall missed 13 games with a sprained foot.
I think I came back earlier than I was supposed to, Wall said. Im just learning from it, maturing and not trying to rush anything back. This is something different than your foot, its your knee. It can stop you from playing if I dont take my time.
As for his off-court habits this summer, Wall smiled when he was asked about social media reports that he partied excessively.
Listen man, its summertime, he said. Im going to enjoy myself. But as long as Im up every morning at 6 a.m. and going to the gym at 7 it doesnt bother me.
Throughout the season if I was doing it, it would be a lot different. But Im happy to enjoy basketball and Im going to enjoy myself in the summer. At the same time, theres a time for me to enjoy myself with my family and my friends, and theres also a time for me to get better at basketball. And if Im doing that, Im OK with it.
Wall said that despite his injury, his goal is still to lead the Wizards into the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.
I know coming in here I have high expectations, he said, but thats my goal, to get D.C. basketball and the Wizards back where they belong and thats in the playoffs and hopefully contend for a championship. I like the pressure.