Washington Wizards guard John Wall has been ruled out of basketball activities since rupturing his Achilles back in February after slipping and falling in his house. This came shortly after Wall had surgery in January to repair a nagging heel injury that ended his 2018-19 season – which subsequently became infected. He has been expected to miss 12 months.
Just a couple of days ago, in the Wizards 140-133 loss to the Boston Celtics, Wall was executing some impressive pregame dunks, showing off his famous left-handed slam.
— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) November 14, 2019
The expectation has always been that Wall would miss the entirety of the 2019-20 season, but this dunk and a few other signs point to a potential, unforeseen return.
For starters, Wall looks damn good in the above video. Even if he’s still in the midst of his rehab from surgery, going up for a dunk like that – especially in pregame warmups – would indicate that he’s feeling good. Back in late September, Wall was advancing into jump shots and ball-handling drills.
Not even two months later, he’s rising up for vicious dunks. Wall said in September that he has no intention of rushing back into things – and if the Wizards continue to plummet, he should stick to that plan. But is Wall closer to returning than initially thought?
About three weeks ago, the Wizards filed for a Disabled Player Exception with the NBA on Wall in order to obtain roughly $9.2 million that would help the franchise sign another player in Wall’s absence. The NBA denied that request after Wall was reviewed by an independent doctor. The reasoning for denying the exception was that Wall would *not* be out until June of 2019 – the final month of the NBA’s playoff season. So that news wasn’t too surprising since his recovery shouldn’t take that long, but it is notable.
Achilles injuries typically require a 12-month process for a full recovery. Wall had the surgery in early February, about 10 months ago.
So will Wall return this season? A lot of it depends on the Wizards position once he is fully healthy. If Wall can make it to 100 percent by late February or early March of 2020 and the Wizards are within striking distance of the playoffs (unlikely, Washington is currently 2-7), do they add him into the rotation? Or do they wait a few more weeks after that and try to give him some late-season run just so he isn’t completely rusty heading into the 2020-21 season?
Either way, I wouldn’t definitively rule out Wall for the rest of the year. If he’s dunking regularly like he is in the video from a couple of days ago, he’s progressing rather well.