Back after a long road trip out west, the Wizards (9-31) will finally field their desired starting lineup on Friday against Minnesota as John Wall will make his first start of the season. Wall hasn’t experienced any setbacks in his left knee since making his debut on Jan. 12 but Coach Randy Wittman said that the former No. 1 overall pick will remain limited to his 25-minute playing restriction.
“You’ve got to learn how to play with John, there’s no question about that, and I think guys are seeing that. There’s still an adjustment period there,” Wittman said. “Now it’ll be even a little bit different adjustment with him in the starting lineup. But they’re learning, both John and guys that haven’t played with him very much. It’s a process that hopefully will continue to be a positive moving forward.”
In Wall’s first seven games as a reserve, the Wizards have gone 4-3, shot 46 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from beyond the three-point line and outscored opponents by 4.9 points. Wall will go head-to-head with Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio, who will also start and play limited minutes as he recovers from a torn ACL in his left knee.
Minnesota will be shorthanded without Kevin Love, Nikola Pevokivc, Brandon Roy, Alexey Shved and Coach Rick Adelman, who remained in Minneapolis to tend to his wife, who has been hospitalized with an undisclosed illness.
Martell Webster was bought out last summer after two injury-plagued seasons in Minnesota and will face his former team for the first time. Webster has led the Wizards in scoring in each of the past two games, posting a season-high 24 in a win against another former team, Portland.
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Tipoff: 7 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: 106.7 (WJFK FM)