The NBA currently has plans to open its 2020-21 regular season in December. If that holds true, John Wall will take the floor for the first time in nearly two full years.
He had surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles in February 2019, but had been out since the previous December due to bone spurs. Two years is a long time to sit out, especially when it coincides with what should be a player's prime.
Bradley Beal, meanwhile, has continued to lead the Wizards in Wall's absence. And now that his 2019-20 season has been shut down, he too is looking towards next year and he can't wait to reunite with his partner in the backcourt.
"Oh man, I'm beyond excited. I'm not going to lie," Beal said Sundy afternoon on NBC Sports Washington.
But beyond his own anticipation, Beal has grown close enough to Wall over the years to understand how much returning to the court will mean to him. Wall has not only been out of the game for a while, much has changed during that time. He has spoken sentimentally about what his first game will mean to him.
It will be the first game since his mother's death due to cancer. And it will be the first time he will play in front of his son.
Wall has lived a tumultous life. Beal knows full well what the game of basketball has meant to him throughout all of it.
"I'm more happy for him than anything because he gets to get back on the floor. He hasn't been on the floor in a long time," Beal said. "For him to be able to get his place of peace, his muse back and his love and joy back, I think that will be great. I'm definitely looking forward to just us together."
When Wall does play again, there will be plenty of focus on how he looks when he returns after so much time off and after a very serious injury. There have been encouraging reports and video footage of him playing in practice situations, but the true test will be in an NBA game situation.
In that time, Beal's game has transformed significantly. He has blossomed into a two-time All-Star who now counts an expanded repertoire of play-making skills. He was forced to add elements to his game with Wall out of the mix.
Though they have played seven NBA seasons together, there is some intrigue and mystery about how they will look when they reunite. Both should be different players and people than they were when they last shared the court.
The Wizards' roster has also been overhauled around them. They have young players on the rise like Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr. and Thomas Bryant.
"With where I've taken my game to him being a five-time All-Star, we can really grow our team and our young stars that we have in the making," Beal said. "I'm excited and I know the fans are too. It can't come any faster."
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