Wall, Nene brighten dubious start to camp

Wall, Nene brighten dubious start to camp
September 28, 2013, 5:45 pm
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Randy Wittman on 1st day of training camp

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

FAIRFAX, Va. -- At least the Wizards have John Wall and Nene healthy on the first day of training camp, which started one week earlier this year. 

That's the glass-is-half-full perspective pitched by coach Randy Wittman on Saturday when his team took the floor at the Patriot Center on the campus of George Mason University.

The Wizards, who didn't have Wall or Nene to start camp or the regular season a year ago, already were without Emeka Okafor (herniated disk) and Chris Singleton (left foot/toe surgery). Then, Otto Porter (right hip flexor) and Trevor Booker (sore right knee) were limited in their participation Saturday. 

Still, Wittman was relieved.

"What do you think? I feel great. It did," Wittman said when asked to compare this to last season. "I was just kidding John, he didn't do anything until the first of January last (season), basically on paid leave."

Wall was on the shelf because of a stress reaction in his left knee. Nene had played for the Brazil national team and developed a tissue injury, plantar fasciitis, under his left foot. They combined to miss 42 games to begin the season. 

The Wizards added four veterans to the training camp roster, even though they already have the maximum 15 players under contract for the regular season.

Wittman didn't want to bog down the teaching process with free-agent rookies. 

"I wanted to bring guys in here that kind of have some experience, guys that have been in the league, played overseas, knows how to play," Wittman said when asked in particular about Josh Childress, who has been a pro for nine years.

Wall said he watched highlights of the Wizards' 2012-13 season which ended with just 29 wins, though they were the only non-playoff team among the NBA's top 10 defenses in points allowed.

"We know what we're capable of as a team," Wall said. "We just got to play like we did last year, be a great defensive team, be a faster team, get out in the open court."