Quick Links

Does loss of Wall change expectations?


Does loss of Wall change expectations?

Entering his third year in the NBA, John Wall wanted to be bigger, stronger, faster and more consistent with his jump shot.

Its why he hired the services of Los Angeles trainer and shooting guru Rob McClanaghan, who worked extensively with NBA stars Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love.

I thought it was a great chance to try something different, Wall said Friday before revealing he will miss the first month of the Wizards 2012-13 season with a non-traumatic stress injury of his left knee.

Wall added 10 pounds over the summer, beefing up to 205 pounds, before he began feeling discomfort in his left knee near the end of August. A week later he underwent an MRI that, according to Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld, revealed some bursitis, or inflammation of the bursa sac, in Walls left knee.

When Wall's discomfort continued through his September workouts, the club sent him to orthopedic specialist Dr. David Altchek in New York on Thursday night and a second MRI revealed the early stages of traumatic stress in his left knee cap.

I didnt change up anything, Wall said of his summer workouts. This is something that happens when you work out really hard.

As part of his rehab Grunfeld said Wall will participate in non-impact strengthening by swimming, running in a pool and gradually working his way up to a treadmill.

Wall, 22, called it a minor setback and Grunfeld called it a bump in the road, but both made it very clear they do not want Walls injury to have a lasting impact on this season or his promising career.

I want to take my time and make sure I dont force myself to come back too soon, Wall said.

You have to look at the big picture and the big picture is that Johns going to be with us the majority of the season and help us get to where we want to go, Grunfeld said.

That would be a berth in the 2013 NBA playoffs. Wizards coach Randy Wittman was asked if those expectations are now altered with the clubs best player scheduled to miss at least the first 10 games of the season.

I dont think so, he said. With the changes we made were a deeper team. Obviously, were going to miss John. Theres nobody we can go out and sign or bring in here thats going to do the things Johns capable of doing.

But that doesnt mean other people wont have the opportunity to step up. Im still very positive about this season and the people we added.

Wall will continue to take part in team meetings and will be responsible for learning the new sets being implemented by Wittman and his coaching staff. And when he returns, Wittman said his expectations of the third-year guard will be no different than they are now.

The good thing about this is that we caught it when we did, Wittman said. Its not the best-case scenario, but we also have to look at this in a positive way.

I still expect a lot out of John and thats not going to change. Its just going to start a little bit later. Were lucky that we took the precautionary step to make sure there was nothing there. We thought maybe it was bursitis and were lucky we got it before there was a fracture or anything of that nature.

Wall said hes confident his teammates can carry the load for the first month of the season, when the Wizards play five of their first seven, and six of their first 10 games, on the road.

The new coaching staff we have and my teammates are going to hold it down and play the best they can, Wall said. Maybe some of the younger guys can help and have a good season while Im not there.

Quick Links

Wizards host students from Stoneman Douglas High School ahead of 'March For Our Lives'

USA Today Sports Images

Wizards host students from Stoneman Douglas High School ahead of 'March For Our Lives'

With a march on Washington planned for this weekend following the mass shooting in Parkland, FL, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were invited by the Wizards to attend their Friday morning practice at Capital One Arena.

About 20 of the kids showed up to watch the Wizards practice, took pictures with players, got a tour of the facilities and walked away with Wizards hats and gear. It was a small break away from what has been a tumultous time ever since the massacre at their school on Feb. 14.

Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis was on hand to speak with the students, who are set to lead the 'March For Our Lives' through downtown Washington on Saturday.


Wizards guard Bradley Beal met with the media after taking photos with the students.

"For us to be able to take their mind off of it for just a few minutes is always a great feeling," Beal said. "At the end of the day, we're all human beings regardless of our careers are and what our jobs are. A lot of us have families, kids, brothers and sisters. The last thing that you want to happen is what happened to several of those families. You can never imagine."

Beal went to college in Florida and has participated in his own forms of activism. He has found inspiration in the efforts by Stoneman Douglas students. They have taken what happened to their school as a catalyst for what they hope produces change in the ability to protect similar attacks from happening again.


Beal, 24, finds that admirable.

"It's amazing sometimes to learn from the youth on how to do things," Beal said. "It's a testament to where our world needs to lead to, to where we need to get to and to come together as a society. It starts with us as the younger generation. We've gotta come together with love and do things like this. I think what they're doing is awesome. It's spreading positive vibes and it's true humanitarian work that they're doing."

The Stoneman Douglas students are expected to attend Friday night's Wizards-Nuggets game as well.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

Bradley Beal sees Phil Chenier's jersey retirement as something to strive for

Bradley Beal sees Phil Chenier's jersey retirement as something to strive for

The relationship between Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal and Bullets legend Phil Chenier goes beyond your average friendship between a current and former player, or a current player and team broadcaster.

Beal and Chenier are close to the point Chenier often offers advice as a fellow shooting guard who helped lead the organization to some of their most important accomplishments.

Beal is always open ears when Chenier is talking and took great honor in being the one to tell Chenier personally that his jersey would be retired by the Wizards.

The day has come for Chenier's No. 45 to be raised to the rafters and Beal feels a unique sense of pride in seeing a man he reveres to the highest degree finally have his day in the sun.

"It's unbelievable. It's more than deserving," Beal said. "I was happy to be the one who told him about it. It's a special night for him. He's been a mentor to a lot of us for many years."


Chenier was a three-time All-Star for the Washington Bullets back in the 1970s. Following his playing career, he became a legendary broadcaster calling Bullets and then Wizards games for over 30 years.

Beal is now an NBA All-Star himself, having earned the honor for the first time this season. He is a shooting guard, just like Chenier.

Chenier was the color analyst for Wizards games for the first five years of Beal's career and Beal has always seen Chenier as a model to follow both on and off the court.

"It's always motivation for me to get better and I feel like this is the final touch of it, having your jersey retired by the franchise that you played a part in their success," Beal said.


The honor Chenier is about to receive is another goal to strive for. Beal wants to achieve a lot of what Chenier has accomplished in his life from winning a championship to making All-NBA to now having his jersey hang in the rafters at Capital One Arena.

"It definitely motivates me for that to be a goal of mine. Especially with the fact we both play the same position," Beal said.


NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

For more on Chenier's jersey retirement, check out our in-depth interview with him on the Wizards Tipoff podcast: