Wizards' Wall aims for Saturday return from injury


Wizards' Wall aims for Saturday return from injury

WASHINGTON (AP) Playing for the blue team in a Washington Wizards scrimmage, John Wall stripped the ball from a player on the white team, outran a defender down the right sideline and went high with his left hand for a dunk.

He also went behind the back, then drove down the middle and got fouled hard on a layup attempt. He hit the floor, but got up with no problem.

If Wednesday's practice was any indication, Wall looks ready for his season debut.

``I'm tired of suits. I want to put on a jersey,'' he said.

The former No. 1 overall draft pick is aiming to play Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks, which would be his first game since he was diagnosed with a stress injury to his left kneecap in September. He said if he can make it through the next two days of practice pain-free, he'll be good to go.

``I'm just working my way back in shape,'' Wall said, ``and just excited and happy to be back out there with my teammates and go through a full practice without no pain.''

Coach Randy Wittman said doctors need to give the final approval before Wall can play. Because Wall is working himself back into shape, he probably won't start in his first few games back and will have his minutes limited.

``We've got to be patient in this whole situation,'' Wittman said. ``His conditioning isn't near where it needs to be at this time. I don't want to put him in a situation out on the floor where (lack of) conditioning is going to have a tendency to cause another injury.''

Wittman said he wasn't bothered when he saw Wall hit the floor hard during the practice.

``Actually, I like seeing that, that's he's not tentative, not thinking about going to the basket and getting hit,'' the coach said. ``That's a positive.''

Without Wall, the Wizards have the NBA's worst record at 5-28, and their franchise player has almost become a forgotten man.

``I feel like ever since I got drafted, I've been under the shelf, so I'm not worried about none of that,'' Wall said. ``I'm just happy I'm getting the opportunity to play basketball again. I'm not really focused on what anybody is saying or what anybody thinks about my future or my career.''

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Derrius Guice understands why Redskins fans are frustrated, but he's looking ahead

Derrius Guice understands why Redskins fans are frustrated, but he's looking ahead

Derrius Guice is a very positive person. Unfortunately, he's playing for a team right now that's shrouded in negativity.

The Redskins have played 10 games this season, and they've walked off the field as losers in nine of those contests. They've gotten rid of their head coach, and many are wondering how many other major changes will come.

And when it comes to the fans, many — if not most — are furious with the direction of the franchise. Guice is noticing that, too.

"It just sucks when I score, or someone else scores, and our team posts a picture to Instagram or Twitter and everything under it is just, 'Fire this, fire that, we suck," Guice told JP Finlay in a 1-on-1 interview on the Redskins Talk podcast. "That doesn't help anything."

The running back understands that frustration. However, he wants those who are angry to know one thing: While this current roster is obviously responsible for the 2019 issues, they aren't responsible for the two-decade-long slump that's affected the organization.

"I'm new here," Guice said. "I understand some of these fans have been here 20-30 years, but like, there's a lot of guys on this team that are new. Y'all can't bring all that negativity to us like we've been here 20 years. I don't think that's fair to us players."

That's what makes this situation so difficult for those on the field and those who watch those on the field. Fans have been on this unsatisfying ride for far too long, yet most of the players hopped on a stop or two ago. 

So people who post those hateful comments or send those angry DMs are doing so because they've seen a handful of free agency and draft classes bust, and because they've seen numerous coaches come in and fail, and they've been lied to repeatedly about how "close" the Redskins are. They aren't necessarily trying to take it out on Guice or Dwayne Haskins or Landon Collins, it just appears that way.

Guice, for one, is trying his best to improve how he handles that side of being an athlete. He's also choosing to focus on those who've stayed on his side through what's been a trying first couple of seasons in the league.

For all the negativity he encounters, he's grateful for those who remain positive like him.

"A guy that's been there two years and has only played two real games, there's a lot of fans that have still never left my side since I got drafted," Guice said. "That's something I always have to cherish."


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Report: Phillies sign another National, bring on assistant hitting coach Joe Dillion

Report: Phillies sign another National, bring on assistant hitting coach Joe Dillion

When you win a championship the way the Nationals did, other teams are going to try and capture that magic in any way they can. 

Of course, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg are at risk of leaving town and free agency, but now the Davey Martinez will have to make changes to his coaching staff as well. 

According to Jim Salisbury, the Phillies hired Washington's assistant hitting coach Joe Dillon as their new hitting coach under manager Joe Girardi. 

Working with hitting coach Kevin Long, Dillon helped the Nationals lead the national league in on-base percentage while ranking second in batting average and OPS. 

The Phillies struggled at the plate in 2019, ranking 22nd in batting average, 19th in on-base percentage and 17th in OPS. Despite acquiring Bryce Harper, Jean Segura and JT Realmuto last offseason, Philadelphia boasted an anemic offense under former hitting coach John Mallee.