By Ben Golliver
The Wizards on Friday offered a slight glimmer of hope during an otherwise dreary season.
Wizards.com released a statement from Dr. David Altcheck, who has been treating John Wall, indicating that the starting point guard has made progress in his rehabilitation from a stress reaction in his left knee, although he will remain sidelined "indefinitely."
“John’s examination today showed improvement in his stress injury that will allow him to begin ramping up his activity level. There is still some irritation in the knee which we have treated over his last several visits with a series of three lubricating Synvisc injections, the last of which was given today. He will continue to be evaluated on an ongoing basis.”
Wall, 22, has so far been unavailable during the 2012-13 season. The injury, which was announced in September, was initially expected to sideline him for eight weeks. That target date has now come and gone, and the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA draft has yet to return to the court. Earlier this week, Wizards coach Randy Wittman told CSNWashington.com that Wall was still "weeks form getting on the floor and practicing."
Washington, owners of the worst record in the NBA at 3-16 entering Friday's action, have started Jordan Crawford and Bradley Beal in the wake of Price's injury, using point guard Shaun Livingston off the bench. Neither Crawford or Beal is a natural distributor and the Wizards currently rank dead last in the NBA in offensive efficiency. Back in November, Rob Mahoney here at the Point Forward examined Washington's offensive struggles.
What to take from this statement? Well, it's cautiously worded and seems to leave open the possibility of further hiccups in his return, although it represents fundamentally good news because Wall is being cleared for increased levels of activity. How Wall's knee responds to the extra exertion will, of course, determine how quickly he can move from "ramped up activity" to starting and playing heavy minutes every night. Wall holds career averages of 16.3 points, 8.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. He appeared in all 66 of Washington's games last season, averaging 36.2 minutes per night.