Back in December, Wizards guard John Wall addressed the media following the news he was set to undergo season-ending surgery on his left heel. He explained the decision, which was made in consultation with Wizards doctors, Dr. Robert Anderson in Green Bay and his own inner circle, as intended to prevent a much more serious injury.
“It's to the point where I can't play through it anymore, unless I want to tear my Achilles,” Wall said.
Wall ended up tearing his Achilles anyways in a freak accident at his home just one month later. The first surgery gave him a timeline to return by the start of next season. This next surgery will add at least a few more months on top of that.
Wizards team medical director Dr. Wiemi Douoguih explained in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday the details of how Wall’s ruptured Achilles was discovered and how long it could take to get him back on the floor. There were some specifics, but also plenty of unknowns.
“You know, there’s no way to tell,” Douoguih said of whether Wall will for certain get back to the player he once was.
“We don’t have a whole lot of data on elite NBA point guards with tendon ruptures. John is an unusual specimen because of his talent, his abilities and the demands placed on his body. So, we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Douoguih outlined a recovery of anywhere between 11 and 15 months. An 11-month recovery would be in line with Wall’s college teammate, DeMarcus Cousins, who returned in less than a year from the same injury. A 15-month rehab would keep him out for the entirety of next season.
Douoguih shared some details about how Wall’s latest injury was diagnosed. The All-Star point guard had surgery to remove bone spurs in his left heel on Jan. 8 and three weeks later, on Jan. 29, slipped and fell in his home.
Douoguih said Wall was not wearing the walking boot he had been prescribed when he fell, but was permitted to take it off for certain tasks like taking showers. Soon after falling, Wall told the Wizards medical staff about the incident. He told them he didn’t hear a pop, but had felt some additional discomfort.
Soon after, Douoguih examined Wall for an infection related to the initial surgery and realized his Achilles tendon had been damaged.
“We tried to put him on antibiotics, but the [infection] wasn’t getting better. So, we just went in to explore it and incidentally found that he had a rupture at the time of the surgery,” Douoguih said.
Douoguih explained that the tendon wasn’t fully torn, that several strands remained attached to the bone. That, he believes, threw off their initial examination. He also said that separates Wall’s injury from the average Achilles tear.
However, Douoguih believes Wall’s surgery, which is expected to take place next week in Green Bay, will still fall within the normal parameters of Achilles tendon surgery. Once it is done, the long road to recovery will begin.
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