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John Wall bangs knee in win over Kings, expected to be fine

John Wall bangs knee in win over Kings, expected to be fine

John Wall played over 42 minutes in Monday night's overtime win over the Sacramento Kings, but for much of the game he was playing through discomfort after getting banged in his right knee in the first half.

Wall is expected to be okay, but will likely miss practice on Tuesday before the Wizards head out to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder.

"He's fine, just going to obviously get some treatment tonight," head coach Scott Brooks said. "We will practice [tomorrow], but he will probably just get treatments and sit out."

Wall described the pain as being located on the inside of his knee. He mentioned his VMO (Vastus Medialis Oblique), which is under and near the top of the kneecap. 

His knee was hurting on a night he committed a season-high 11 turnovers, and Brooks wonders if the pain was a contributor to his performance. Wall also shot 6-for-16 from the field

"It took him a while. You could tell he was laboring at times, but then throughout the game it loosened up," Brooks said.

Wall, who did managed 19 points and 11 assists, would not link the discomfort to his play.

"Heck no," he said. "Turnovers were just overdribbling and trying to make passes to certain people when those guys are really athletic and have length. They deflected some of my passes."

Wall began this season on a minutes restriction and was held out of the second legs of back-to-back games earlier this month. Those efforts were prescribed to him after he had surgeries on both knees back in May.

But in his last five games Wall has logged at least 37 minutes, including on Monday when he set a season-high. He will now get one day to rest before going up against Russell Westbrook, one of the NBA's best point guards.

[RELATED: Takeaways from Wizards' narrow win over Kings]

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Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr. hope to show improvement when NBA returns

Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr. hope to show improvement when NBA returns

The NBA's break in between games due to the coronavirus is long enough to equal a full NBA offseason. If any of the general rules of NBA offseasons apply, that means some players could come back looking noticeably different.

Since young players are usually the ones who improve the most over the summer, Rui Hachimura and Troy Brown Jr. are two players to watch. They are the Wizards' two most recent first round picks and both spent the break working with the resources they had, hoping to make another leap.

Hachimura, whom the Wizards took ninth overall in 2019, spent much of the time off in Los Angeles. He mostly trained at home with access to weights and a schedule lined with Zoom workouts hosted by Wizards coaches and members of the team's training staff.

Hachimura didn't have full-time access to a hoop, but did get some shots up here and there. Since returning to Washington once the Wizards' practice facility reopened in June, Hachimura has been working closely with assistant coach Corey Gaines.

The emphasis has been his outside shot, ball-handling and court vision.

"I feel like I have more confidence in my threes," Hachimura said. "I feel like that's come from how much I'm working out. The coaches have done a good job with me, the technique and stuff. I think it's more the confidence and I think it's getting better."

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The Wizards have been trying to add arc to Hachimura's shot ever since they drafted him out of Gonzaga. He has a solid midrange shot, but the percentages go down the further out he goes and the flat trajectory doesn't help.

Hachimura is shooting just 27.4 percent from three as a rookie this season. The team hopes he can step into a larger offensive role with Davis Bertans having opted out of the league's restart. If his three-point shot is indeed improved, Hachimura could make a big difference.

"I'm so excited for this opportunity," Hachimura said. "I think we have a chance to make the playoffs."

Much of Brown's focus during the break has been on the defensive end. He wants to be a more reliable and versatile defender for the defensively-challenged Wizards.

The problem there is that with social distancing in Wizards' workouts, he can't really practice defending other NBA players. So, it has required some creativity.

RELATED: BRADLEY BEAL UNDECIDED ON NBA RESTART

"I've done lateral slides with resistance bands on. More so making your body used to those quick movements and getting those twitch muscles used to sliding fast and making quick reaction times," he said.

Brown said he adjusted his diet during quarantine and dropped his body fight down to six percent, the lowest he's been since he was drafted 15th overall by the Wizards in 2018. He also feels like the time away helped him clear his head.

"For me personally, I feel like it's been a good break to take some time off mentally and regroup. I've been able to work on my body and work on stuff I normally wouldn't be able to work on," he said.

The Wizards have a lot of young players who had the chance to improve dramatically in the past few months. But their two recent first round picks certainly stand out as ones to monitor given how important they are to the team's future. In just a few weeks, we should get a sense of whether they were actually able to improve or not.

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Ish Smith on death of 11-year-old Davon McNeal, gun violence in United States

Ish Smith on death of 11-year-old Davon McNeal, gun violence in United States

During a video conference call with reporters on Monday, Wizards point guard Ish Smith was asked about gun violence in the United States, specifically in light of the recent murder of 11-year-old Davon McNeal in Southeast Washington. Smith had heard of his passing and it hit quite close to home.

"His life is cut short at 11 years. I got a nephew right now who is 11 years old. He's 11 and I know the dreams and aspirations he wants and where he wants to get to," Smith said. 

McNeal was killed by a stray bullet on Saturday while attending a non-violence cookout organized by his mother. He was in the sixth grade at Kramer Middle School in Southeast.

McNeal's death is all too familiar for Smith, who has seen far to many cases just like this one.

"What could little man have done to avoid that? Like, we gotta do better," Smith said. "To see a child taken so young; I mean, my man won't even be able to see his 18th birthday, prom, graduation. There's just so much stuff... It shouldn't be at the hand of somebody else where they can't get to where they wanna get to because of a stray bullet or a shooting; whatever the case is. My heart hurts."

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Smith, who is deeply religious, said he is "constantly praying" for the violence to stop. He tries to do his part by speaking with troubled youth in North Carolina in the offseason.

He hopes more awareness can be raised for tragedies like McNeal's.

"[Kids] have to see a better example so they know what to do and what not to do so they can see a brighter future," Smith said.

There are no suspects in McNeal's murder at this time. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is asking for the public's help with any leads.

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