If this weren’t the playoffs, if John Wall wasn’t absolutely central to everything the Wizards do on both ends of the floor, this wouldn’t even be a discussion.
But it is, and he is, so the question is out there: Might Wall try to play through the five non-displaced fractures in his left hand and wrist? The Wizards have made no official announcement of the plans for Wall, he and they are searching for a way he can play. They are weighing the risks and rewards, but remember a non-displaced fracture (to his shooting hand) kept Kawhi Leonard out more than three weeks this season.
The reality is, nobody knows if Wall will suit up and play on Saturday, including Wall himself, who spoke to J. Michael of CSNWashington.com.
“It’s moving better but there’s still pain there,” said Wall, who led the Wizards to a 104-98 win in Game 1 with 18 points and 13 assists. “I haven’t tried dribbling again so I’ll probably try it tomorrow. Just the same pain has been there even if the swelling goes down a little bit.
“I have no idea (if I can play again). Depends on my swelling and how all the pain goes away. I finished Game 1 with it not knowing I had anything wrong and then I came back and got evaluations so I have no idea.”
I wouldn’t be optimistic if I were a Wizards fan. There are a lot of risk/reward issues to think through.
How much could he really do with his left hand even in a splint or support? Does he become essentially a one-handed player (he still hasn’t even dribbled with the injured hand)? If so, he’s much easier to defend.
What can happen when an opposing player rakes him across his left hand and wrist? How much worse can the injury get? If you don’t think opponents target weaknesses, you have never watched pro sports.
Is that risk really worth the reward of making it one more round in the playoffs at best? Wall is the center of the franchise, would Wall be risking an injury that could impact next season or even beyond?
Wall is tough. He’s a competitor. He’s been the second-best player in the Eastern Conference these playoffs. But it seems a lot of risk to take on just to keep this playoff run going a little longer.