Five players, including John Wall, denied a report that he had a blowup with coach Randy Wittman at a recent practice that forced its cancellation before they departed for last week's game at the Detroit Pistons.
While Wall uttered an expletive to describe what he called lack of accuracy, four other players -- in individual chats with CSNmidatlantic.com -- said there was no argument even between players. "I've never cursed my teammates out," Wall said as he walked out of shootaround at Verizon Center on Wednesday morning.
One compared it to what happened last season with the Indiana Pacers when they missed the playoffs, with their best player injured and led to the roster being blown up.
"When you lose, this is what happens," he said.
Wall will miss his fifth game in a row, the season finale, tonight vs. the Atlanta Hawks because of a sore right knee.
This is what happened, according to all accounts that were mostly consistent in detail and tone. All of the players were present:
- The last time Wall practiced, on April 5 before playing the Brooklyn Nets the next night at Verizon Center, he was angry with coaches for not calling a foul in a 5-on-5 pickup game that took place afterwards.
- Wall did lash out, in a general sense about the no-call, but there was no heated exchange with Wittman or any teammates about Xs and Os regarding their performances, or non-performances, this season. And the game didn't have to be halted.
- Wall spoke to media after the practice session after having worked up a heavy sweat. He actually praised how intense practice was and smiled throughout and talked about the 5-on-5. Here's that report where he actually put the responsibility on the players to give more effort.
- The next morning, Wall's right knee -- a problem spot for him all season -- blew up. He was declared out and hasn't played or practiced since.
- After the Wizards defeated Brooklyn 121-103 on April 6 at Verizon Center, there was no scheduled practice for the next day before they left for Detroit.
While there's truth about tension that exists in the locker room between Wittman and his players, some of whom have questioned him publicly including Wall, but no such incident happened at practice.