For a little more than half an hour on Monday, John Wall joined the Washington Wizards starters, completing the next step in his rehabilitation process.
Wall, who has spent the previous five-plus weeks recovering from left knee surgery, participated in a pre-practice workout. Along with four starters, Wall drilled through the team’s offensive script when no defenders were on the court. Wall split time in the point guard position with Tomas Satoransky and played off the ball in his first session working with teammates since undergoing surgery Jan. 31.
“He looked good. A little winded, but that was expected,” Coach Scott Brooks said about the workout, which lasted 30-35 minutes. “This was just the next step to get him on the court, some five-on-zero stuff, to get him on the court with other players. Not sure how many more days will this be before he goes to contact. It’s definitely progressing in that direction. Just taking it day by day now.”
Although the Wizards (38-29) have three games this week, Wall is not expected to play. Before returning to the Wizards’ starting lineup, Wall must go through a few more steps and ultimately participate in a five-on-five scrimmage with contact.
On Wednesday, as the Wizards play in Boston on the second night of a back-to-back set, Wall will reach the six-week marker of his rehab timeline. The team will not practice after consecutive games, but Brooks said Wall could still get in another workout with coaches and team staffers. Wall would have to wait until Friday to potentially practice in a five-on-five setting.
“We’ll have a practice at the end of the week,” Brooks said, “and if everything continues to go in the right direction, he’ll be there.”
The number of games that Wall will play, however, is not as certain.
Beginning Tuesday when the Wizards host the Minnesota Timberwolves, only 15 games remain in the regular season. Because it’s already expected that Wall will not return this week, he will have a dozen games left to prepare for a possible postseason run. To Brooks, the number of games does not matter — the team is more concerned about getting Wall comfortable again.
“I just want him to keep doing the work that he’s put in,” Brooks said. “We just want to make sure we’re never going to put him out there before he’s ready. Whenever he’s ready — whether it’s eight games, one game, no game — if he’s ready to play, he’s ready to play. But I’m not going to put a time on it. He’s not going to. I know he’s progressing in the right direction and he’s feeling good.”
Even if Wall needs more time before completing his return, Brooks expressed confidence that his all-star point guard can quickly readjust to the action.
“A guy that’s dynamic like John, not a lot [of time is needed to readjust]. He’s unique,” Brooks said. “As we all know, he can play through a lot of things and not touch a basketball for five straight weeks and come out and make shots and dribble the ball like he sleeps with it. It’s unbelievable that he has that type of skill set, that type of talent. A lot of players can’t do that.”