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Battered John Wall mulls sitting out: 'It can't get any worse'

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Battered John Wall mulls sitting out: 'It can't get any worse'

John Wall is close to taking time off to heal a high right ankle injury, but like last season he's in a difficult spot because the Wizards are struggling. 

"All my trainers know what it is. All I know it's a real, real bad sprain," Wall, who had an MRI on Thursday after the Wizards returned from a four-game road swing, told CSNmidatlantic.com before Monday's game when he set a career high with 19 assists vs. the Sacramento Kings. "I've sprained it like five, six games in a row so it wasn't getting no better.

"A high ankle sprain. I probably should take time off but when we start getting a couple guys back I'll see how it feels and make a decision."

None of this should come as a major surprise with Wall, who played in two playoff games in the East semifinals with five breaks in his left hand and wrist. He also played through a pair of ankle sprains last season when the Wizards struggled through a stretch of losing 12 of 15 games.

And to top if off, Wall had to leave the court Monday because of bruised left ribs to go with a left hip injury over the weekend.

"It was kind of hard to run at the end of the game," who exited with 39 seconds left after he was hit by Darren Collison. "Every time I made a move it was pretty sore."

The Wizards at least had a cushion with their record last season when he suffered because they got out to a 22-8 start. They're 12-14 now and already are without Bradley Beal (leg), Drew Gooden (calf), Nene (calf), Gary Neal (lower back), Alan Anderson (ankle) and Otto Porter (thigh).

Coach Randy Wittman, who is using a seven-man rotation, doesn't have enough healthy bodies for a full practice.

"We only got eight, nine people going through stuff," Wall said of his high right ankle sprain. "It's a fat ass sprain."

Wall tweaked his ankle in Saturday's win vs. the Charlotte Hornets. Then hurt his hip when he attempted to block a shot from Kemba Walker at the rim and crashed to the floor

"It can't get any worse," Wall said of the ankle. "It's just getting swollen. I'm just getting a lot of treatment on it and trying to take time off when I can, like practice, resting."

All of this comes after he banged his knee in the fourth game of the season during a 102-99 win vs. the San Antonio Spurs. When his play dipped for most of November, that injury caught up to him. He had to be carried off the court after taking a shot to his knee in a game vs. the Dallas Mavericks at the Verizon Center but didn't miss a game.

"It was hard. It was a (expletive). I had a bruise and it was strain in my MCL," Wall said. "It's cool now."

Wall insists he's not going to injure himself any worse by playing. Beal will get evaluated for the stress reaction this week and could be cleared to return soon. Gooden and Nene are close to returning, but probably another week away at a minimum. Porter's injury shouldn't be long-term.

"If I was in jeopardy I'd be out," Wall said. "My coach, my teammates understand I'll play through anything."

RELATED: BREAKING DOWN THE COUSINS-GORTAT MATCHUP 

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The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards dominated Game 3 because everybody ate ... literally

The Wizards returned to Washington, D.C. on Friday down 0-2 to the Raptors in their best-of-seven 2018 NBA Playoffs first-round series

The team lost a close one in Game 1 and was run out of the building in Game 2. Game 3 was must-win, and the Wizards knew what needed to happen in order for them to secure the victory.

"Everybody eats." 

That's the phrase that has defined the Wizards throughout much of the season They are at their best when John Wall is making plays and feeding his teammates.

On Friday night, the Wizards beat the Raptors 122-103 to force at least a Game 5. Wall finished with 28 points and 14 assists.

Bradley Beal finally broke out of his slump for 28 points and  Marcin Gortat, Mike Scott and Kelly Oubre all chipped in with at least 10 points.

But the stat sheet wasn't the only place where everybody eats.

Here's Marcin Gortat from Game 3. 

But if pantomiming isn't your thing, here is Bradley Beal actually eating popcorn during Game 3.

So what did we learn in Game 3? Well, for starters: "Everybody Eats" is not just a motto, it is a way of life.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

GORTAT DITCHES MOHAWK, TEAMMATES APPROVE

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WILD GAME 3

BEAL GOT AN APOLOGY FROM SCOTT BROOKS

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With Playoff Beal back, the Wizards are revitalized in playoff series vs. Raptors

With Playoff Beal back, the Wizards are revitalized in playoff series vs. Raptors

The Toronto Raptors were only going to hold Bradley Beal down for so long. After two so-so games to begin the Wizards-Raptors playoff series, the All-Star shooting guard was bound to find his way offensively and that arrival came in a Game 3 win on Friday night.

Beal was brilliant and much more in line with what he's shown in the postseason throughout his career. Game 2 was his worst playoff game as an NBA player, he scored only nine points. Game 3 was one of his best on the postseason stage, or at least one of his most timely and important.

The Wizards needed more from Beal to give themsevles a chance in this series. An 0-3 deficit would have been a death sentence. His production is so key to their success that head coach Scott Brooks and point guard John Wall met with Beal in between Games 2 and 3 to figure out how to get him going.

Whether that was the catalyst or not, the results followed. Beal poured in 28 points in 10-for-19 shooting with four rebounds, four assists and three steals. He hit four threes, more than he had in the first two games combined.

Beal wasted no time to make an impact scoring the ball. His first points came on a quick burst to the basket where he stopped on a dime, turned around and banked it in. By the end of the first quarter, he had 12 points in 11 minutes.

“I just wanted to be aggressive, get shots that I wanted which is what they were going to force me to take," Beal said.

After Game 2, Brooks and Beal described how physical the Raptors were defending him. They were holding on to him and staying close, even when he wasn't moving off the ball.

Brooks saw a difference in how Beal responded to that in Game 3.

"Brad came out and was looking to go towards the basket and not just letting them hold him and going along with it. He didn’t want to dance with his opponent, he wanted to get away from them. That was a critical part of his success," Brooks said.

Beal's 28 points were as much as he scored in Games 1 and 2 together and just about what he averaged through four games against the Raptors during the regular season (28.8). By halftime of Game 3, Beal had 21 points on 8-for-11 from the field.

Beal hit two threes in the first quarter and another two in the second quarter. Several of those threes were set up by Wall, who used the meeting with Brooks and Beal to ask how he can set him up better as the point guard.

In Game 3, they were on the same page.

"I do think this man [John Wall] next to me, he creates and facilitates for the whole team and gets everybody easy shots," Beal said. "I talk to you guys all the time and I can’t tell you the last time I actually got a regular catch and shoot three just in a regular half court set. When he came back, I got like three or four off the bat."

What Beal did in Game 3 is what the Wizards are used to seeing from him this time of the year. Despite being only 24 years old, he has a strong track record in the playoffs.

Through 37 career postseason games, Beal is averaging 22.3 points, more than his career average of 18.7 in the regular season. In each of his previous three postseason runs, he has averaged more points during the playoffs than he did in the regular seasons leading up.

That production has earned him the nickname 'Playoff Beal' and when he goes off like he did in Game 3, good things usually happen. The Wizards are 10-6 in the playoffs during his career when he scores 25 points or more.

Wall also boasts impressive career numbers in the playoffs. When the Wizards have both of their stars playing at their best, they are hard to beat. With peak Beal on board, this series looks a lot different than it did not that long ago.

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

GORTAT DITCHES MOHAWK, TEAMMATES APPROVE

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM WILD GAME 3

BEAL GOT AN APOLOGY FROM SCOTT BROOKS

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