The mystery involving John Wall’s left knee continued Monday as he met with team doctors, underwent an MRI and planned to travel to Cleveland to seek more medical advice.
The Washington Wizards and the five-time all-star point guard have no answers as to why he periodically deals with knee soreness, stemming from an injury in early November. Though Wall has previously had his knee drained, received an MRI and got injections, he’s back to repeating some of these steps even two months after the initial diagnosis revealed he was experiencing inflammation in the knee.
Wall is expected to miss his second consecutive game when the Wizards (27-22) return to action on Tuesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The team hopes to receive some answers about his knee before then.
“It’s a concern but we have to trust that the doctors and everybody is going to have the best game plan for him going forward and it’s always about him going forward, not about us going forward,” Wizards Coach Scott Brooks said. “We want to make sure, not only with John but with all our guys that their career is most important. But right now I don’t know how concerned, but we’re definitely concerned that it is bothering him from time to time.”
When Brooks shared an update on Wall having another MRI on Monday, the second in the last two months, he said the results were not available to him by the time he met with reporters. Wall scheduled a visit with orthopedic surgeon Richard D. Parker of the Cleveland Clinic Marymount later in the day. Parker performed Wall’s two knee surgeries in May 2016 and also consulted with him in November.
“We don’t know what that means,” Brooks said of Wall’s second meeting with Parker. “We just know that they’re going to all meet and we’re going to go from there . . . The next couple of days we’ll know more.”
Wall’s knee soreness comes and goes. On nights like Jan. 5, Wall can go flying over two rows of baseline seats in Memphis while attempting to save a loose ball and come out unscathed. Then, he can drop 30 points and nine assists on Jan. 12 in a win over the Orlando Magic two nights after going for 35 and 11 against the Utah Jazz.
When his knee flares up, though, Wall turns into a pedestrian point guard who routinely struggles to stay in front of his matchups and settles for jump shots as he did on Jan. 22 and Jan. 25 during losses to the Dallas Mavericks and Thunder, respectively.
“It’s just [that] it’s sore. We have to figure out why is it doing that every so often,” Brooks said. “It’s really just in the short term we’re concerned because it’s sore, but other than that we feel comfortable with him being able to go forward, but we definitely have to do what’s best and go from there.”
Brooks revealed that Wall needed his knee drained “a few times” with the last procedure happening “maybe a few weeks ago.” Wall has missed 10 games due to his knee, and 12 total this season. Brooks said he is not preparing for another long stretch without his point guard.
“We’ve done it before, so I know what it looks like, but no, we’re hoping for the best,” Brooks said. “He’s had some good games even when his knee has been sore, but we want to make sure that we do what’s best for John. That’s why we’re doing this. I still feel comfortable with our guys.”
If Wall sits out multiple games, the Wizards will likely split the lead guard minutes between second-year player Tomas Satoransky and Tim Frazier. On Saturday night against the Atlanta Hawks, the duo contributed 21 of the team’s 40 assists, the most in franchise history since 1992. Though Frazier came off the bench, he played more minutes because Brooks liked how the offense flowed with his passing. Frazier finished with 14 assists, his most since Nov. 22, 2016 when he played for the New Orleans Pelicans.
“We feel pretty comfortable with Tim and Tomas. I thought they both played extremely well,” Brooks said. “Right now with Tomas and Tim, the way they played last game hopefully they can do that during the two games at home.”
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