Here are the highlights from Wednesday's Wizards practice...
Morris still not with the team
One day after he and his brother were acquitted of assault charges in an Arizona courtroom, Markieff Morris was not with the Wizards as they practiced at Capital One Arena. The Wizards expect Morris to make his return to the team some time this week, as early as Thursday. The Wizards play their second preseason game on Friday night at home against the New York Knicks.
Morris won't be participating in that game anyways due to his recovery from sports hernia surgery. He is expected to miss several weeks of the regular season, which begins on Oct. 18. Still, the Wizards want to get him back as soon as possible.
"It's great, that's my guy," John Wall said of Morris' acquittal. "I talked to him afterwards. I told him congratulations to him and his brother. Now, get his butt back to D.C. I'm glad it's over and he can focus on basketball and try to get healthy and be back with the team."
Head coach Scott Brooks left Morris a voicemail, but hadn't heard back from the power forward as of Wednesday afternoon. Brooks expects Morris to spend some time with his family first before arriving in Washington. Morris' first child was born just weeks before the trial.
Brooks said the Wizards linked Morris up with a group of specialists in Phoenix to help aid his recovery. They hope to have him with the Wizards' medical staff and around his teammates soon.
"It's always important for him to be around with all of our guys. That's the tough thing about injuries, you feel left out," Brooks said. "He's quiet, but he has a voice with our guys. he has that calming influence and that toughness. When he speaks, players listen."
The Wizards have been exploring their options to replace Morris in the lineup while he's out through training camp and now one preseason game. It will come down to Jason Smith, Mike Scott or Chris McCullough, but the plans could center around Otto Porter playing some power forward in small-ball lineups. Brooks said the process remains ongoing.
Wall reacts to new All-Star Game format
The NBA's announcement of a new All-Star Game format could affect Wall very directly, as Wall has been an All-Star in each of the past four seasons. No longer will the East play the West. Now captains will pick teams playground style.
Wall didn't have much to say when asked for his reaction to the news, but does think it will be good for the league.
"Trying something new I think will be exciting for the fans to see. It's great. It's like when the lockout was happening, people were going to different charity games and playing. It could turn out to be something like that and be a lot of fun," he said.
And like most basketball fans, he's all for the drama that could come out from captains picking teams.
"You could have players that are captains and might not like players on other teams, so they won't pick them," he said with a smile.
Wall is big in China
After the Wizards beat the Guangzhou Long-Lions in their preseason game on Monday, several members of the Long-Lions showed up in the Wizards' locker room afterwards. They all wanted to meet Wall.
"Just about every player came to the locker room," Wall said. "They took pictures and some of them got some autographs. It was just like their shoot around shirts and shirts they had on. Stuff like that."
Though Wall didn't play in the game, clearly the Long-Lions players were excited to see him.
Tim Frazier didn't practice due to his groin strain and may not practice on Thursday. Devin Robinson remains out with a stress fracture in his left foot. Both he and Frazier were limited to light shooting work.
Sheldon Mac remains sidelined with a jammed left thumb. Brooks described Mac as "much better" one day later and said he could be cleared for contact on Thursday. Unfortunately for Mac, there is competition at his position now with veterans Carrick Felix and Donald Sloan in house. Mac had a strong game on Monday, but certainly wants to get back as soon as possible.