The dynamic of the Wizards' series with the Atlanta Hawks has changed drastically after Thursday's revelation that point guard John Wall could be out for the postseason with five non-displaced fractures in his left hand and wrist. The team should have a definitive answer soon.
"There's no timetable for something like this is the best way I can put it," coach Randy Wittman said with Game 3 at Verizon Center on Saturday. "We got to be prepared as a team to play without him. Our guys are doing that. Knowing John, if there's a slight chance to get in, he's holding out for that. That's the type of kid he is."
Wall had X-ray at Phillips Arena after Game 1, when he had a hard fall in the second quarter of a 104-98 victory for the Wizards. He said then as well as after a 106-90 loss in Game 2, when he sat out, that there were no fractures or structural damage shown in the tests. Wednesday, however, it was evident that something was amiss with such bad swelling.
A non-displaced fracture occurs when there is a crack or break in the bone but the bone itself remains aligned. That makes it tougher to diagnose initially and Wall's swelling compounded the matter. A displaced fracture results in a shift in the bone from its original position.
"A step at a time. The toughest guy I've been around. We just got to let this play out the way it's going to play out. I can't give you what that is," Wittman said. "Swelling and stuff has a lot to do with it. Who knows how long something like that is going to stay. That would've been true today even if we didn't have the report back of the broken bone. His hand is so big he can't handle the ball, he can't control anything. ... Let's get that swelling out there, see where we're at and move forward from there."
Wall had 18 points and 13 assists in the win vs. Atlanta. He averaged 12.5 assists per game in a first-round series sweep of the Toronto Raptors. Paul Pierce has played a big role in their postseason success as well, and now he'll have to do even more.
"It's definitely difficult for the team but I'm sure it's more devastating for John," Pierce said. "He worked so hard to get to this point in his career, to play so well throughout these playoffs to hear that type of news it's devastating. I'm more hurt for him than anything. I know how bad he wants to be out there so my prayers go out to him and his family right now."
Ramon Sessions practiced with the first unit for the first time and had 21 points in Game 2 which was a playoff career high. Garrett Temple and Will Bynum also could factor into the game plan off the bench.
"It's definitely got to come from me and a number of other guys who have the opportunity now to step up," Pierce said. "By no means do we feel like this series is over or our goals change. We're going to continue to go out there, reach for our goals and continue to fight each and every night. ... It's up to everybody to rally around one another, use this as motivation and go out here and try to win these games especially for John.
"Ramon has been a starter in this league. He understands his role. He's not John Wall. He's not the guy to go out there and get you 25 and 13. We just ask him to continue what he needs to do. Attack, when the shots are there take them, move the ball, play steady defense, it's not going to come from one person. One guy cannot fill John's role. It's going to have to be collectively whether its him, Garrett Temple, Will Bynum, not only from the point guards but other guys, too. Hopefully these guys are motivated. Nobody picked us in the first round. Nobody is picking us in this round. Nobody expect these guys to go in there and to do the job. We in this locker room, we expect to."