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C.J. Miles' injury another setback in what he hopes to be a redemption story

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C.J. Miles' injury another setback in what he hopes to be a redemption story

The news that C.J. Miles had surgery on Thursday to repair a stress fracture in his left foot was surprising, but perhaps it shouldn't have been. After all, the Wizards traded Dwight Howard for him and Howard missed the final five months of last season after having serious back surgery. Getting a healthy Miles for Howard seemed too good to be true, and evidently, it was.

Miles, 32, will now deal with another setback as he aims to reinstall his career following a down year in which he shot 36 percent from the field and missed 29 games due to injury. It was his foot that ended his season last year and clearly, it is still an issue.

The Wizards say Miles will be re-evaluated in six weeks. That would be around the first week of September, leaving about three more weeks until training camp. The season is still over two-and-a-half months away. He has time to get healthy and not miss any games.

Still, it is an obstacle in the way of Miles, who is entering his 15th NBA season. What he produced last year in his time split with the Raptors and Grizzlies wasn't up to his standards. He wants to get back to being the version of himself who was a key bench player on a playoff team just one season ago.

"Last year I just felt like I never really got in a groove after the work I put in to really help my team," he told NBC Sports Washington. "It just didn't fit. It's not personal, it was new coach and a trade happened. It's the league, stuff happens."

Miles has a few reasons to believe Washington could be a good fit. He is a wise, hard-working veteran who is willing to impart lessons on younger players. The Wizards have told him that's what they want him to do.

The Wizards also entered this offseason with a need for three-point shooting and Miles can help with that. In the six years before last season, Miles shot 37.5 percent from three on 5.6 attempts per game.

Miles also likes playing in Washington. He happens to have had some of his biggest games against the Wizards over the years. Back in 2015, when he was with the Pacers, he made eight threes in a game. And in the 2018 playoffs while with the Raptors, he made eight total threes in a pair of consecutive playoff games.

As soon as he got traded to Washington, Wizards fans began reminding him about it.

"I've gotten some tweets and DMs, yeah," he said. "It's one of those places. It's weird. The longer you play and you see that sign of consistency in certain places, I think any time I was coming here and I was struggling a little bit, I felt like I was coming out of it that night.

"It's just one of those gyms that I just felt good in it. There's something about the rims, they get big in there. Maybe it's the backdrop, the lighting, I don't know. I always enjoy playing in this arena. I always have a lot of friends and family here, too, so I think subconsciously you always want to play well in front of your family and friends, so that helps."

Miles says he would often have 15 or 20 friends and family members in the crowd for road games in D.C. He also has one of his best NBA friends in the locker room.

Miles and Wizards center Ian Mahinmi remain very close after their days as teammates with the Pacers. They live in the same neighborhood in the offseason in Texas and their families get along well.

"We're excited. Our families are excited. He has a young daughter and mine is almost two. Our wives are excited," Miles said. "When it happened, he called me on the phone screaming in his French accent. I didn't understand what he was saying."

Miles seems determined to have a comeback year with the Wizards. The road to getting there has now been delayed at least six weeks.

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Chauncey Billups knows from experience that John Wall will have a dominant return from his Achilles injury

Chauncey Billups knows from experience that John Wall will have a dominant return from his Achilles injury

WASHINGTON -- Turns out there is a familiar refrain when you ask NBA players who recovered from torn Achilles injuries about the rehab process and its biggest challenges. Spurs forward Rudy Gay brought it up, and so did Clippers broadcaster and 17-year NBA veteran Chauncey Billups.

They say it is not just the process of coming back physically. There is a mental hurdle, a very specific one, they had to overcome, and they believe Wizards guard John Wall will have the same experience once he returns to NBA action.

"There's a mental component to it that's really necessary when you're coming back from something like that. You're going to be in that position in which you hurt it 50 to 60 to 70 times in one night. You have to get over that," Billups told NBC Sports Washington.

"You think about it. You think about it all the time. You have to just trust in the work you put in, you have to trust in the science and just know you can't continue to think about it because if you do, you're not going to play your game. It's easier said than done, it really is."

It makes sense. Most injuries in basketball are suffered while running, cutting or jumping. Though Wall technically tore his Achilles while falling in his house, the tendon is going to be tested over and over by every move he makes on the basketball court.

Billups said getting over that can take a long time. He suffered his Achilles tear in 2012 and was back playing in an NBA game 296 days later.

But it took much longer than that to truly get to 100 percent.

"One thing I noticed is that when I came back, I came back at [10 1/2] months. But it took me probably another 10 or 11 months to really feel like myself. I don't think that will happen with John [because] he's a lot younger and his body probably heals a lot quicker than mine did," Billups said.

Billups said his lateral movement and jumping ability were affected the most. Lateral movement is particularly important on defense, especially for a point guard who has to stay in front of some of the quickest athletes on the planet.

As for jumping ability, Wall may have an advantage as he tore his left Achilles and has always been a much better leaper off his right leg. It's why most of his dunks are thrown down using his left hand.

Given Wall was seven years younger than Billups when they suffered their injuries, Billups believes Wall is likely to get most, if not all, of his athleticism back. But he also sees a way Wall can change his game to remain effective even if he never regains his trademark speed.

"I think that John could be a very good post-up type of point guard [because] he's such a good passer and facilitator," Billups said.

"A point guard being down there and being able to pass out of the post, it's tough. Teams don't work on that. I think that's a weapon he can add, especially as he gets older. Naturally, he will slow down and his athleticism will diminish as he gets a lot older, but he can be just as effective if he can develop that," he added.

Just like Wall, Billups tore his Achilles in February. He was back playing in games by late November, so Wall has already taken longer than he did to return. The Wizards have even indicated Wall could miss all of this season due to the injury. And if he returned next year, he would end up taking about 20 months to recover.

Having been through the process himself, Billups can speak to how difficult that could end up being for Wall, to just sit out and wait patiently even if he at some point knows he can play.

"That's tough to do when you're a competitor," Billups said. "You miss the game that you love so much. It's my first love. You have an opportunity to feel like you're back after all the work that you put in, man. To feel like I can get out here and help my guys who are struggling? They're doubling Bradley Beal and they've got a young guy [in Rui Hachimura] showing some promise, it's tough to just kind of sit that out and wait and say 'when's the right time?'"

The Wizards appear intent on giving Wall extra time to heal and, it should be noted, they have a major financial investment in his future. This is the first season of his four-year, $170 million supermax contract. It might be worth punting on the first year if it ensures they get something out of the final three.

Whenever he does return, Billups has high hopes for the five-time All-Star.

"I have no doubt that John Wall is going to come back and be dominant," Billups said.

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Davis Bertans' incredible start to the season, by the numbers

Davis Bertans' incredible start to the season, by the numbers

Davis Bertans was on fire once again on Tuesday night in the Wizards' loss to the Charlotte Hornets, as the Latvian Laser continues his breakout season in Washington hitting threes at a historic rate. Here are some numbers to put what he is doing in perspective...

32

Bertans had 32 points in Tuesday's game, the ninth time he has scored 20 or more already this season. He had scored 20-plus points only three times previously in his career.

6

Bertans has made six or more threes in a game six times already this season, including four times this month. Before he joined the Wizards, he had done it twice as an NBA player.

8

Bertans is one of only seven players in Wizards/Bullets franchise history to make eight threes or more in a game. The others are Gilbert Arenas, Trevor Ariza, Bradley Beal, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rex Chapman and DeShawn Stevenson. Only Beal (nine) and Ariza (10) have made more than eight.

92

Bertans has made 92 threes through 23 games this season. The ony players who have made more through this point in NBA history are James Harden and Stephen Curry. The previous high for a Wizards/Bullets player was 72 (Arenas).

328

The 92 threes in 23 games has Bertans averaging four per game and on pace to make 328 on the season. Only two players have ever made 300-plus threes; Harden and Curry. The record is 402, by Curry in 2015-16.

4

Bertans has made four threes or more in six straight games and five or more in four straight. Both are franchise records. During this six-game stretch, Bertans is 36-for-71 (50.7%) from long range.

9.6

Bertans is making most of his threes on catch-and-shoot plays and leads the league in most related categories. He is tops in the NBA in points off catch-and-shoot plays (9.6/g), field goals made (3.2/g) and three-pointers made (3.1).

70.8

A whopping 70.8 percent of Bertans' shot attempts this season have come from three-point range. The next highest percentage for a Wizards player is 34.6 percent, by Moe Wagner.

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