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Wizards' injuries continue to pile up as Troy Brown Jr. suffers calf strain

Wizards' injuries continue to pile up as Troy Brown Jr. suffers calf strain

When players report early to build chemistry with their teammates ahead of training camp, it is usually a good thing. For the Wizards this summer, it has led to an unfortunate string of bad injury luck.

First Isaiah Thomas tore a ligament in his left thumb, on his shooting hand, and required surgery that will keep him out of all of the preseason and likely the start of the regular season as well. Now, as the Wizards announced on Tuesday, Troy Brown Jr. is dealing with a left calf strain. His timeline is four weeks.

That will put the start of the regular season in jeopardy for Brown as well. The news broke four weeks and one day before the Wizards' first game, on Oct. 23 at the Dallas Mavericks.

These injuries are on top of forward C.J. Miles' foot surgery in July. He was at a Mystics' playoff game last week still in a walking boot, which is not a great sign for his availability in training camp, which begins Tuesday. When he had the surgery on July 25, the Wizards said he would be re-evaluated in six weeks. It has now been two months.

Thomas, Brown, and Miles are three rotation players. The Wizards are also missing John Wall, who remains sidelined as he rehabs from a ruptured Achilles. The injuries are piling up and they haven't even held their media day.

Brown's injury is extra pertinent because he figures to be in the same position mix as Miles. If you are filling out a starting lineup for the Wizards, those are probably your two best choices at small forward. And the Wizards don't exactly have a lot of depth behind them.

Up next could be Justin Anderson, who is a roster-fringe journeyman at this point. Second-round pick Admiral Schofield is probably not ready for important minutes. First-round pick Rui Hachimura seems more suited to play the four. And Jordan McRae seems to be a better fit at guard.

Again, the season is a month away. When the real games arrive, the picture could get clearer for head coach Scott Brooks. But right now it looks like at a minimum their training camp and preseason will be heavily altered by injuries. 

This is, of course, familiar territory for the Wizards. Two years ago, Markieff Morris had sports hernia surgery in September. Last year, Dwight Howard showed up at media day with a brand new back injury.

This time, the injuries are coming both early and in bunches.

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

The Washington Wizards announced the passing of John Wall's mother, Frances Pulley on Friday. 

Wall's mother had been battling cancer before her passing. She was 58. 

In a statement on Twitter, the Wizards said, "Sending thoughts and love for John Wall and his family after the passing of his mother, Frances Pulley. She will forever be a part of our #DCFamily."

Zach Leonsis, the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, also released a statement

"Thinking of @JohnWall and his family right now. Keeping you guys in our prayers. So terribly sorry for your loss and know that she will be remembered forever. #DCFamily

Wall's Kentucky coach, John Calipari also expressed his condolences for his former star: 

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Bradley Beal sees a young John Wall in the Grizzlies rookie sensation Ja Morant

Bradley Beal sees a young John Wall in the Grizzlies rookie sensation Ja Morant

WASHINGTON -- It is not often you see a rookie find initial success in the NBA to the degree Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant has, already with borderline All-Star numbers at the age of 20. And oftentimes, opponents are careful throwing out player comparisons for guys his age, wanting to see more before they anoint anyone.

Morant, though, is a different case and questions from media members at Wizards practice this week as the team gets set to face him for the first time naturally led to parallels to great players. On Thursday, Brooks brought up unprompted how much Morant reminds him of Russell Westbrook, his former player in Oklahoma City.

And on Friday, Bradley Beal invoked a teammate of his when breaking down what makes Morant so good.

"He loves to get up and down. He's really fast with the ball. It reminds you of John [Wall] in a lot of ways. He plays with his pace," Beal said.

Through 19 games this season, Morant is averaging 18.7 points, 6.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He is shooting 42.2 percent from three on 2.2 attempts.

The threes have been surprising to most, as he shot a relatively modest 36.3 percent his final year in college at Murray State. But also surprising maybe just how lethal he has been at attacking the rim.

Sure, that was a big part of his game in college. But this is the NBA where athletes are much bigger and stronger. And he isn't the biggest guy either, weighing in at 175 pounds according to Basketball-Reference.

But despite lacking in size, he has shown an ability to finish through contact rarely seen from any player.

"I think he has a no-fear type of mentality. So, you have to respect his aggressiveness," Beal said. "He'll get respect from a lot of players in the league, a lot of refs in the league because of his aggressiveness and... with all the posters he has. So, he's an assassin. You gotta respect his game."

Beal likely won't draw the defensive assignment on Morant. That will probably go to Ish Smith and back-up point guard Chris Chiozza, who is with the team while Isaiah Thomas recovers from a left calf injury.

Beal knows it is going to be tough for the whole Wizards team to contain Morant. He said the trick will be trying to stay in front of him, though he knows that is easier said than done.

Really, Morant is such a unique player that the Wizards can only gameplan and prepare so much until they actually experience facing him for the first time.

"He's gonna be a handful," Beal said.

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