After initially thinking the soreness was simply bursitis, Wall received a more troubling diagnosis — which meant an important season for both Wall and the Wizards would begin with the 2010 No. 1 overall pick sidelined for eight weeks with the early stages of a stress injury in his left patella.
The Wizards announced the news on Friday afternoon, extinguishing enthusiasm for a new-look team with training camp set to begin on Tuesday at George Mason. Wall is not expected to need surgery to repair what he labeled, “a minor setback,” and Wall, Grunfeld and Wittman all expressed relief that the problem was detected before it developed into a stress fracture.
“It’s very tough for me,” Wall said in a conference call on Friday with reporters. “I’m going to go into the training room and try to get stronger, take my time and make sure I don’t rush back and force myself to come back anytime soon. Just prepare myself for whenever I get ready for the season.”
Thus the Wizards will open camp without their two best players, since Nene will be limited for most of the two-a-day practices sessions recovering from a left plantar fasciitis injury that the 6-foot-10 center aggravated while playing for Brazil during the Olympics.
Grunfeld said the Wizards would consider signing another player to help fill Wall’s void.
Wall has averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds in his first two seasons in Washington.
His injury leaves the Wizards with A.J. Price and Shelvin Mack as the only point guards on the roster, though shooting guard Jordan Crawford has also had experience playing the position.
The Wizards open the season on Oct. 30 in Cleveland, but Wall isn’t expected to return until close to December.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed for John because he has so much pride and he worked so hard this offseason. But this is a little bump in the road for him,” Grunfeld said. “Everybody heals at their own pace, but we feel good about what we have. . . . We have plenty of guys on our roster right now that can play that spot. It’s got to be a team effort to pick up the slack until we get John back.”
Wall played all 66 games during the lockout-shortened campaign last season, but he missed 13 games as a rookie, dealing with problems in his left foot and a bone bruise under his right knee cap.
He may miss about 14 games by sitting the first month of this season.