WASHINGTON -- The Wizards have welcomed back both Rui Hachimura and Davis Bertans in recent practices and on Tuesday the two of them were full participants, a great sign they will be back on the court in due time.
Bertans is now expected to return when the Wizards play at the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night. He has missed their last 10 games with a sprained left ankle.
Hachimura participating in a full practice is more newsworthy, as it's the biggest step he's taken thus far towards returning from an extended absence due to personal reasons. Hachimura was away from the team during training camp in September and has been taking incremental steps in the months since.
Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said the team didn't do any contact drills or live scrimmaging on Tuesday, but Hachimura was able to do more than he had previously.
"It was more of a mental day. We did a lot of script, a lot of shooting, a lot of cleanup. But it was good to have them out there and see them do things with pace," Unseld Jr. said.
Unseld Jr. said Hachimura is learning the team's new playbook, terminology and how to operate spatially with his new teammates. Though Hachimura has been with the Wizards for two prior seasons, they brought in a new staff and overhauled about half of their roster over the summer.
Unseld Jr. has been impressed with what he's seen from Hachimura so far.
"It’s still slow going. But he’s shooting the ball well, which is great. We’ve obviously seen him impact the game in the dunker [spot], working below the defense, his paint finishing, his ability to drive and score. It’s still early, but to have him out there and be part of days like this is invaluable," he said.
Tuesday offered the first glimpse of Hachimura working out for the media. NBC Sports Washington was able to get some of his shooting on video:
That was just a snippet. Hachimura made far more shots than he missed from the perimeter and, for at least the portion visible to the media, was outshooting his teammates in the drill. When Hachimura was done, he sprinted across the gym towards the locker room, looking spry and showing off the speed that has made him a force in transition throughout his career.
Hachimura practiced with the Capital City Go-Go on Monday. He will continue to work throughout this week, possibly while traveling on the road with the Wizards, Unseld Jr. said.
Hachimura still doesn't have a timeline to return. The Wizards are taking it slow to build his conditioning, they say, despite the fact he isn't coming back from an injury. Still, he's making progress seemingly by the day now.