With one preseason game remaining, how much should the Wizards play starters John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kris Humphries and Marcin Gotat in Friday's finale? Unlike last season, they've skated through injury-free.
At this time, when they were gearing up for the regular-season opener at the Miami heat one year ago, Beal had a fractured wrist and Humphries a hand laceration that required surgery. Both injuries occurred early in the preseason. Then there were the suspensions levied for a scuffle with the Chicago Bulls that kept Nene and DeJuan Blair on the bench.
In Wednesday's 110-105 loss at Miami, Wall went full speed after a ball going out of bounds and cleared the first row of seats by jumping over fans. It was the kind of play that would make anyone hold their breath given the risk-reward involved.
"It’s hard," Wall said of exercising better self-restraint for a game that doesn't count. "You know it’s preseason but every time I step on the court it I just treat as you never know it might be your last game so I just try to give it everything I got. I thought I saved it. I cleared him. That just shows my long-jump skills."
Wall has taken several hard charges. So has Beal, who went down after a nasty collision in a game with the Philadelphia 76ers that initially looked like a clash of knees. Fortunately, relatively speaking, Beal just took a knee to the groin.
Coach Randy Wittman has sat Wall and Beal for one game each already. Porter, Humphries and Gortat have played in all six.
If Nene (right calf) and Blair (right knee) are able to play -- each has missed three exhibitions -- they probably can use the conditioning while other key bench players such as Kelly Oubre, Garrett Temple and Jared Dudley can use extra run time.
Oubre is a rookie who can look lost defensively and Dudley played his first game since last season when he was with the Milwaukee Bucks. He only played 12 minutes in his debut with Washington.