WALL DOING MORE, BUT STILL A WAYS OUT
BY TODD DYBAS | MARCH 2, 2018
CAPITAL ONE ARENA — John Wall was back on the bench Friday night in a resplendent charcoal suit and unnecessary glasses. He got up easily during a first quarter timeout to slap fives with his teammates who were coming off the floor. He stood on his homecourt for one of the rare times in the last month. He hasn’t been on it in uniform since Jan. 25.
Wall is getting closer to changing that. He is running on the Alter-G treadmill, which takes away the pounding on knees and reduces the body weight used when moving. He has also been on a stationary bike. Wall has done strength and conditioning work on his knee, plus the rest of his body. What he hasn’t done is use a basketball for much. Scott Brooks said that could change soon.
Before Friday night’s game, Brooks said that Wall may start light shooting on the court Friday or Saturday. Wall was not in the Wizards’ locker room when it was open to reporters pregame to confirm this.
“Just this past Wednesday marked the fourth week,” Brooks said. “He’s progressing. Don’t know when. Timeline said 6-8 [weeks]. You never know. That’s the smart people guessing or [making an] educated guess.”
Tomas Satoransky has drawn expansive praise for his work in Wall’s absence. Satoransky had a 128 offensive rating and 110 defensive rating coming into Friday night’s game against Eastern Conference leader Toronto. Raptors coach Dwane Casey noted that Satoransky’s size, confidence and scrappiness makes him, “better than you think he is.” Brooks said Satoransky has a very high, “Give-a-crap level.”
Brooks also said Friday he could see Satoransky playing with Wall and Bradley Beal when Wall returns. The concern is that may cut into his time as the backup point guard. Brooks has used every opportunity to move Satoransky back to a wing spot since the season began.
“I think it gives us another playmaker and it can help,” Brooks said. “Tomas can guard bigger players. Good size. Another thing he’s done good is his catch-and-goes. You don’t really have to have the great speed to be great at that, but you have to have good timing and Tomas has good timing. He sees the floor and can pass over a lot of defenders. I can definitely see those three guys on the court together.”
One question around that lineup is just how small Brooks could go against Milwaukee or Philadelphia when either team removes its starting center. Could Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter join Wall, Beal and Satoransky? That would probably make Oubre the “center” on defense.
Brooks said he wasn’t sure about the ideal number of regular-season games for Wall when he returns. He did say he expects Wall to be on a minutes restriction and that he will likely sit out back-to-backs. That could be problematic.
If Wall returns in two weeks, which would be the early side of his projected 6-8 week absence, that could mark March 14 in Boston as his first game back. That would give him 14 regular-season games to play before the playoffs began. If he returned March 28, the late end of the projection, he would have just eight games available to him. Of those, the final four are split into a pair of back-to-backs, which will truncate his opportunity to play even more.
Photo by Todd Dybas for The Sports Capitol