John Wall is a former NBA dunk contest winner, but Wizards head coach Scott Brooks now has a rule prohibiting the four-time All-Star from dunking during or after practices.
Whether it will be strictly enforced or not, it's all in an effort to preserve Wall's health. The 27-year-old returned on Wednesday after sitting out nine games due to two procedures on his left knee, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment and viscosupplementation injections. He sustained the injury when he bumped knees with a player on the Dallas Mavericks in a game on Nov. 7.
Now, the Wizards don't want to take any chances.
"I've done it in the past with you can imagine who that plays the same type of way," Brooks said, referring to Russell Westbrook, whom he coached with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"[Westbrook] likes to dunk, he likes to dunk over you and he likes to talk about his dunk over you. They're the same mentality. I had that same talk with him. Save those dunks for the game. You're allowed to do it in the game, but not in practice," Brooks said.
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Brooks was realistic when asked whether Wall will actually follow the rule. He laughed when recalling whether Westbrook fell in line.
"They just looked at me, smirked and said yes. But they don't listen. They're aggressive and they love to attack, but yeah that's a rule," he said.
Wall was also asked about staying out of harm's way after shootaround on Friday morning. The reporter's question suggested Wall takes more falls than Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins.
"I'm on the ground more than [Cousins], but I don't get the calls as often like roughing the passer," Wall joked. "But it just happens. I took a bad knee at a bad angle and there was nothing I could control that with. I play the way I play... You do try to do things so you don't take as much of a pounding. That's all I know, just all-out."
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