Like so many of his teammates echoed Monday afternoon as the Washington Wizards filed in and out of meetings one final time before dispersing for the offseason, John Wall is certain the Wizards would still be alive in the playoffs if he hadn’t fractured his left hand and wrist in five places.
“If we didn’t have injuries,” Wall said, “we would have been past this round.”
But Wall suffered the season-altering fractures in Game 1 against the Atlanta Hawks, and the Wizards couldn’t recover even after Wall returned in Game 5 just 10 days after his wrist crashed onto the Philips Arena hardwood. They lost four of their next five games to end their season exactly where they did last year: In Game 6 of the second round opposite the Eastern Conference’s top seed.
And now that the Wizards, who were eliminated in Game 6 Friday night, are on to the offseason, Wall’s focus is on recovery. The all-star point guard said surgery isn’t necessary and he plans to see hand specialist Thomas Graham at the Cleveland Clinic sometime this week or next week.
“I’m still just doing a normal treatment routine I was doing, like I was playing,” Wall said. “Just consists of a lot of treatment and trying to keep the swelling down and letting the bone heal on its own.”
There’s a chance Cleveland will host an Eastern Conference finals game between the Cavaliers and the Hawks whenever Wall does go to Cleveland, but don’t expect him in attendance at Quicken Loans Arena.
“I’m going to get my stuff and get out,” Wall said. “I don’t care about watching those games.”
Wall admitted the hand and wrist were “very sore” and the pain was aggravated with each shot the wrist/hand took in Games 5 and 6. Yet the 24-year-old still managed to average 17.5 points, 10 assists, and five rebounds in 41 minutes per game.
“I knew if I played it was going to happen,” Wall said. “I wasn’t complaining about guys hitting it. I knew it was going to happen. And when I stepped between those lines, I just wanted to compete and give my team a chance to win.”