While the end appears near for John Wall this postseason, he's not giving up hope that he could actually play again in this series with the Atlanta Hawks that is tied 1-1 with Game 3 Saturday at Verizon Center. Or at some point in the playoffs if the Wizards can advance to the Eastern Conference finals.
Friday, he avoided giving any specifics on a timetable for his return from a left hand and wrist that has five non-displaced fractures.
"It's moving better but there's still pain there," said Wall, who led the Wizards to a 104-98 win in Game 1 with 18 points and 13 assists. "I haven't tried dribbling again so I'll probably try it tomorrow. Just the same pain has been there even if the swelling goes down a little bit.
"I have no idea (if I can play again). Depends on my swelling and how all the pain goes away. I finished Game 1 with it not knowing I had anything wrong and then I came back and got evaluations so I have no idea."
The Wizards are going forward with Ramon Sessions as the starter with Will Bynum and Garrett Temple as the backups. Bynum has yet to log any significant minutes in the postseason, only playing in garbage time of a Game 4 sweep of the Toronto Raptors. Temple, who had been out with a right hamstring strain, played for the first time Tuesday in a 106-90 loss to the Hawks since he went down March 9.
"We've practiced for two days without him. We know what we have to do with him or without him," coach Randy Wittman said of losing Wall. "I don't want anybody to try to be John Wall. Ramon has to be Ramon. Will has to be Will. They're not going to be John. We're not going to have that.
"Don't come out and try to be John because you're not going to be very good. ... That's kind of the message."
Ninety minutes before tipoff of Game 2, Wittman said Wall would be available. About a half-hour later, Wall was a scratch because he couldn't control the ball with his left (non-shooting) hand. Wall drives and finishes a lot to his left even though he shoots right.
"We were anticipating that John is going to get it taped up, go on the floor and try to play," Wittman said while recounting that sequence of events. "I knew that it was painful or the kid would've played."
Sessions and Bynum were late-season acquisitions to give the Wizards more pace to the second unit and to compensate, in the event of an injury to Wall, for his absence. Sessions has been a spot starter throughout his career and scored 21 points in Game 2 vs. the Hawks. Bynum is more of a question mark after having spent his season in China, coming off a hamstring strain of his own in late March and playing limited time.
"How we have to play doesn't change because John's not here. Doesn't change," Wittman said. "I thought they did a good job of that (in Game 2). We turned it over at the end and the game got out of hand. But with four-and-a-half minutes, it's anybody's game. When you're on the road against a good team like that, put yourself in a position to win. These guys have proven when they do that they have a great chance of winning games."
So ultimately who makes the call if Wall plays again or not? Wall avoided being too specific. The only good thing about this is the bone has not become dislodged from its original position. A non-displaced fracture heals quicker than a displaced fracture and doesn't require surgery. They typically take 4-6 weeks to heal.
"I can't just jump the gun," Wall said. "I've got to be patient. If the pain goes away, then I can try. I already played through it not knowing what was wrong with my hand. My adrenaline was going. I was excited. Once the game was over the pain came and it swelled up.
"I can't do anything if I can't dribble. You got to be able to dribble. If not, it's basically just taping my hand behind my back and saying play with one hand. It's not happening in this league."