As John Wall's workload increases with each passing practice, the idea of the Wizards' pass-first point guard playing in Washington's season opener becomes more tangible.
"I hope so. That's my biggest goal," Wall said after Saturday's practice at Verizon Center. "That's the reason why I'm still rehabbing and doing the strength (exercises), doing everything they're telling me to do. Treatment, extra shots, trying to prepare myself (as if) I will play."
There's also plenty of work remaining before the Oct. 27 matchup at Atlanta.
Wall ramped up his minutes in Saturday's practice at Verizon Center. It's not just that he went a total of 30, which is double the total from his first practice at the start of last week. It's that he put his two surgically repaired knees through consistent on-court work without a break.
"We went like four minutes with no fouls, just keep going, constant movement," Wall said of the full court action. "That's how it is sometimes in games. Just trying to get my stamina up."
The three-time All-Star said he feels "great," though admitted he was "fatigued" after practice. That's understandable.
"I haven't played 5-on-5 in 6-7 months. It's totally different than 1-on-1 and drills," he said.
Center Ian Mahinmi said Wall looked "sharp" during workouts and that "Lately he's been doing more and more and more."
"[He's] still nowhere near game shape," Mahinmi said of the point guard, but called the progress, "very encouraging."
Wall stated his day-to-day mood is also improved coming to work compared to times last season.
"It's a lot better because I'm healthier. Last year it was like, 'Awww, hell, dealing with this again...Trying to prepare myself to fight through it, to play through it. Getting to the point (now) where I'm fully healthy and I can just go out there and play," he said.
Notes: Forward Markieff Morris (sore foot) and guard Trey Burke (sore ankle), who suffered an injury in Thursday's double-overtime win at Philadelphia, sat out practice, coach Scott Brooks said. Another point guard, Casper Ware, limped following practice after getting kicked in the left calf. Marcus Thornton (thumb) was on the court and Mahinmi (back, knee) went through most of the practice, but has yet to fully participate. Brooks said he hasn't determined if any of these injured players will miss Monday's preseason game at New York.