John Wall desperately wants back on the court for the Wizards, who are tied up 2-2 with the Atlanta Hawks heading into a Game 5 Wednesday night. The Wizards desperately need him back after the Hawks started to sort of look like the old Hawks again in Game 4.
But Wall still has five non-displaced fractures in his left hand. Five. Do you want to roll out your franchise cornerstone player with five fractures in his hand?
Wall dribbled with that injured left hand at practice Tuesday and will now talk to a doctor, reports friend of this blog Ben Standig of CSNWashington.com.
“He’s moving in the right direction,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said of Wall. “The swelling is down again. Minimal swelling. He wanted to dribble the ball a little bit. Get the feel of it here. That’s kind of what he did today.”
By dribble Wittman means just that. No scrimmages or full practice participation; the Wizards watched film together and primarily held a walkthrough. Sporting a light bandage on his left hand, Wall was shooting free throws with his right hand with reporters present during the final minutes of practice….
Wittman said Wall will have the injury reexamined by a team doctor either Tuesday or Wednesday.
It’s got to be tempting for Washington to try and bring him back. They are tied with a beatable Hawks team, a squad they very well may beat with Wall. Beyond that will be a banged-up Cavaliers team or a Bulls team struggling to best a banged-up Cleveland team. The Wizards can see the path.
But you can be sure the first time Wall steps on the court in a playoff game and goes after a loose ball or drives the lane, that left hand is going to get smacked. Hard. And the question isn’t just pain tolerance for Wall, it’s how much worse can the injury get? Could some hard contact lead to a displacement, one that requires surgery? Something where recovery bleeds into next season? If you’re Washington, you can’t mess with the long-term future of your best player.
There are a lot of hard questions to answer for the Wizards in the next couple days.