Wall attended the Cleveland Cavaliers’ playoff win over the Atlanta Hawks at Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday night before he had loose particles taken out of his right knee and calcium deposits removed from his left patella tendon by orthopedic surgeon Richard D. Parker at the Cleveland Clinic Marymount. The right knee procedure – known as an arthroscopic lavage – is considered routine and relatively minor, but the operation on the left knee would’ve sidelined Wall for months had he undergone it during the season.
Knee pain has bothered Wall, who relies on speed and athleticism, for the last couple seasons and surgery was first broached at his end-of-season physical. He then consulted with the Wizards’ medical staff and orthopedists James Andrews and Josh Hackel before the decision was made to undergo the procedures.
“I am determined to lead this team back to the playoffs and getting healthy is the best way for me to accomplish that,” Wall said in the team’s statement. “I can promise the fans, my teammates and the organization that I will be focused on that goal throughout the summer and it will drive me to do everything I can to be ready for next season.”
Wall played through a variety of nagging injuries this season – including to both his knees – but didn’t miss a game until he sat out the last five with what the team listed as a sore right knee. He was asked to shoulder a bigger burden than anticipated because of the injuries that ravaged the rest of the roster through January and was an all-star for the third consecutive season. He posted career bests in points (19.9 per game), assists (10.2, third in the NBA), rebounds (4.9), steals (1.9, tied for eighth in the NBA) and three-point shooting percentage (35.1) in 77 games.
But he reported to training camp out of shape, which produced a dreadful November, and averaged a career high in turnovers (4.1 per game) while his field goal percentage dropped to 42.5 as the Wizards finished a disappointing 41-41 and failed to advance to the postseason.
After injuries plagued him in two of his first three professional seasons, Wall has missed just eight games because of injuries over the past three campaigns, including three in last year’s playoffs. He averaged 36.2 minutes per game this past season. The Wizards would like him to curtail his workload over the course of next season, which will be the first for Coach Scott Brooks. Backup point guard Ramon Sessions was effective in his role and as Wall’s replacement late in the season, but will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
“The consultations with John, his agent and a variety of top medical professionals led us all to the conclusion that the best course of action for John was to have this procedure done now with regards to both next season and his long-term health,” Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said. “John has been a true warrior for us throughout his career and we’re confident that his work ethic will have him back leading the team as soon as possible.”