The plan for John Wall is simple: Do what he did last off-season to prepare.
Unfortunately, that resulted in a stress injury to his left knee and kept him out for the Wizards’ first 33 games of the regular season.
“It’s the same. The stress injury is just something that just happened from working out. I think if I was here (in Washington) the same thing could've kind of happened,” said Wall, who’ll be training in Los Angeles and huddling with teammates for workout sessions.
Wall will partner with Rob McClanaghan, a professional basketball trainer who is noted for preparing hopefuls for predraft camps. Among his other clients are Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
“He was here … working me out before the last stretch of games,” Wall said of McClanaghan coming to Washington before the regular season ended. “Whenever I start working back out for the upcoming season I’m going to be with Rob again.”
Without Wall to start the season, the Wizards were 5-28. They finished 29-53.
Even when he came back, Wall struggled to regain his off-season form when he worked countless hours on conditioning and reshaping his jump shot. When the injury was diagnosed just before training camp in September, he had to sit out basketball activities for a little more than three months to avoid a fractured patella.
Wall was expected to return in December but didn't make his 2012-13 season debut until Jan. 12.
“It’s just like cartilage built up under my kneecap. Can’t really say it was because of the guys I worked with or what I was doing,” Wall said. “ I felt like I was doing the same as the other summers. ... It was just my time and it came.”
Coach Randy Wittman sympathized with his star player, who still averaged career highs of 18.5 points and 44% shooting despite the slow start. Wall even had a career-high 47 points in a win vs. the Memphis Grizzlies on March 25.
“This had to be a difficult year for him, knowing, if John can play 82 games, he's going to play 82 games,” Wittman said. “He loves to play, and that was the hardest thing to see him after what he did last summer and the effort he put in last summer and to all of sudden hear on Sept. 27, you can't play for three months.
“And then all of a sudden three months later, to be thrown in and he's nowhere near in shape to be playing. We didn't have any choice in the matter (other than) getting him in shape through playing. And it showed in his play early on. He was frustrated, you were frustrated, I was frustrated.”