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John Wall looks sharper than expected on first day of Wizards' camp

John Wall looks sharper than expected on first day of Wizards' camp

RICHMOND, Va. -- While John Wall initially didn't sound optimistic about his chances of participating fully at training camp or being ready for the preseason when he had his knee surgeries, the start of Wizards' training camp Tuesday suggested otherwise.

Coach Scott Brooks had to stop practice and tell Wall, who'd done most of the drills up to that point, to sit down. He wasn't going to be allowed to do 4-on-4 or 5-on-5 drills.

"That’s a sign of dedication from him. You can see how hard he’s working," backcourt mate Bradley Beal said. "When we went live it took coach bringing in and single-handedly kicking John out of the practice in order to get him out of the drills."

Wall, who had procedures on both knees May 5 to clean up loose particles (right) and a shave down a bone spur (left), surprised all of his teammates because of his readiness.

“I feel great," Wall said. "A little fatigued. .. I think I’ll do the same exact stuff (tomorrow that) I did today."

The sight boosted an already energetic first day under Brooks in his first season in Washington.

“John is going to be back. I have a very good feeling about that," said second-year forward Kelly Oubre after the first session of two-a-days. "He didn’t play 5-on-5 or 4-on-4 live but he was doing everything else. He looked great. He looked quick. He was jumping. He was dunking.”

Brooks estimated that Wall did 70 percent of the drills at Siegel Center on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University. Those included defensive drills, full-court drills, contact layups, shell drills and working on dummy offense. Wall went for more than an hour. 

“I think he looked good. I heard a lot that he was not going to be ready for training camp," center Marcin Gortat said. "For me he looks normal. He looks completely normal. ... He looked completely fine. He’s still talking trash.

"We’re talking about a freak of nature. He’s just built like that. His genes are obviously incredible."


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Wizards vs. Nuggets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards vs. Nuggets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap, Jamal Murray and the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Special night

It will be an emotional night for many as the Wizards get set to retire Phil Chenier's No. 45 jersey. Chenier was not only a great player for the franchise during their heyday in the 1970s, but he was a legendary broadcaster of Wizards and Bullets games for decades and has been an ambassador for the organization for a long, long time. 

His jersey will be raised during a halftime ceremony hosted by Chenier's former broadcast partner and good friend Steve Buckhantz. Chenier will have many friends and family on hand. All fans will also receive emoji signs with Chenier's face on them.

Chenier's ceremony will air live at halftime during the NBC Sports Washington broadcast, so make sure you stick around for that. It should be a great moment for D.C. sports fans.


Harris is out

Like the Wizards and John Wall, the Nuggets will be without one of their best players as star guard Gary Harris is dealing with right knee soreness. Harris, just 23, is Denver's leading scorer with 17.7 points per game on 48.6 percent shooting from the field and 39.9 percent from three. 

The Nuggets still have plenty of firepower beyond him. Nikola Jokic is one of the game's brightest young stars with averages of 17.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He shoots a ridiculous 39.3 percent from three as a big man. Guard Jamal Murray, just 20, is averaging 16.5 points while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from three. Then there is Paul Millsap, a four-time All-Star who is averaging 14.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game this season.

The Wizards' defense will be put to the test, as the Nuggets are one of the best scoring teams in basketball. They boast the seventh-best points per game average (109.8) and the sixth-best offensive rating (112.4). 


Last time was interesting

The first time these teams squared off, back on Oct. 23 in just the third game of the season, things got a little weird. In the final minute, Jokic was assessed a technical for bumping into Wizards head coach Scott Brooks.

It was a bizarre sequence that helped the Wizards come away with a win. Given it was an incident between a player and coach, nothing will happen in the way of retaliation, but it's something to keep in mind as these teams go at it again.


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Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


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