On the face of it, some might argue the NBA's hiatus should help the chances John Wall returns from his Achilles rehab by the end of the 2019-20 regular season. If the regular season does resume after its delay, technically he would have more time to rehab and time is important.
But it's actually quite the contrary, as Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard explained in a Twitter Q&A on Thursday hosted by the team's account. He said Wall playing this year "is just not feasible" and went in-depth on how the league's stoppage only makes matters more difficult.
"[John] had gone through a lot of practices with the Wizards, shaking the rust off, trying to get his legs back and into shape. To the untrained eye, you would have walked in and said 'wow, he looks fantastic.' And he does, but in the NBA and with the elite player that John is, to be in NBA top shape, he was definitely not that and he was definitely not close to that. He was on his way to that," Sheppard said.
"The biggest casualty to him in this deal right here is the inability to scrimmage and be in the gym with several people at the speed that he needs to be at. So, he's actually, he's going to be in great shape coming out of this because he's working hard, but from a basketball training perspective, he's just not able to get out on the floor and do those things. So, when we do come to play, he will be behind, unfortunately."
Sheppard also noted how Wall scrimmaged with the Capital City Go-Go six times before the season was halted. And according to Sheppard, what Wall put on display was very encouraging.
Wall hasn't played since December of 2018 and likely won't be ready to return until this fall, assuming the 2020-21 season begins somewhere close to on schedule. But when he does hit the floor again, Sheppard is expecting a great player.
"I will tell you this, we saw enough from John through this path and in all the scrimmages that he's been through, that next season, I can't wait for it to get here for him," Sheppard said. "I feel pretty good that we're going to get a five-time All-Star back at a really, really high level."
That last comment is similar to what head coach Scott Brooks said recently, that he believes Wall will once again be an elite NBA point guard. Wall is getting high praise from those who have seen him behind closed doors, and it's enough to get Wizards fans excited for the eventual return. It just may be a while before that happens.
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