John Wall has missed the entire wretched season so far of the Washington Wizards because of a knee injury. Hurt more has been Wall’s professional pride.
The 2010 No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft hardly is mentioned among the top point guards in the league anymore, and that eats at him — and inspires him.
“If you look at the list of the point guards of the future, I’m not up there,” Wall told YahooSports. “That gives more motivation to me when I get back to show the NBA what I really have to give to the league. They will respect me again. Everybody will see. I won’t do the talking. I will let my game do the talking.”
Wall said based on how he has felt recently (no pain after three consecutive up-tempo workouts) that he should return to the lineup in January. He averaged 16.3 points, eight assists and 4.5 rebounds last year in the lockout-shortened season.
As a rookie, he was sidelined a dozen games for knee and foot injuries, but was the MVP of the rookie vs. sophomore challenge during NBA all-star weekend. Sill, he told YahooSports that he played through injuries to not let his team down, but playing injured limited his mobility and put himself at further risk.
“There is no reason to force myself back and re-injure myself and have another setback where I don’t start next season or I got to miss next season,” Wall said. “I’m just taking my time.
“If I play 20 games, I just go out there and play them. I’m not giving up on my team and they’re not giving up on me. They know I’m working hard to try to get back.”
Watching from the bench with a stress injury to his left patella in general and his team struggling (league-worse 3-23) in particular has been learning for Wall, he told YahooSports.
“I always love the game, but you respect the game more when you can’t play,” Wall said. “I have never been injured before seriously. I’m watching every point guard that comes in and what they’re doing and how teams are doing against my team and what I can do when I get back.
“When I feel like I can run and do everything like I used to, cut, jump like I used to, run fast like I used to (I will return). And I feel like I am getting closer and closer to those steps.”