Wizards' Wall terms return to action from stress reaction '50-50'

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Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

Elevating activity level doesn't mean much yet

John Wall's nearly three months of inactivity finally could be over. After sitting out since September with a stress injury to his left patella, Wall is expected to resume running, jumping and cutting Tuesday in an effort to evaluate his recovery.

Whether that leads to the star point guard returning to a Wizards team that desperately needs him remains to be seen. In fact, Wall put his chances at "50-50."

"I just feel like God is challenging me mentally, giving me a course like this to see if I can get through it," Wall said. "I have to sit back and wait."

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Hawks at Wizards
When » Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Where » Verizon Center
TV » CSN

Instead of making good on grand ambitions to display an improved jump shot and get Washington out of the NBA cellar in his third season, Wall has had to sit still on doctor's orders as the Wizards have struggled to the worst 21-game record (3-18) in franchise history.

"I like the way that we had a lot of new guys added to the team, and I feel like our team was better, and we had a lot of goals set," Wall said. "And we've still got them set, but it's tough when you got to sit there and watch and you can't help out your team."

Ten weeks off the court have helped heal the stress reaction in Wall's left knee. He had potentially been on track for the kind of broken knee cap that cost Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin his rookie season.

"To have it happen so quickly, it wasn't like it was a gradual kind of thing," Wizards coach Randy Witt?man said. "Nobody really thought at the time that even when he had a little discomfort in there that it was going to be middle of December and he still hasn't been able to do anything."

Last week the Wizards lost A.J. Price, the point guard they had signed to back up Wall, to a broken right hand. That makes a return of Wall's dynamic offensive game even more essential.

"I don't think I have to be heroic," Wall said. "But I'm still going to have to play at a certain time limit, if I come, whenever I come back, because I'm not going to be fully in the best of shape."

Wall said he still has a cartilage problem under the bone but said he's hopeful his time off and three lubricating Synvisc injections will keep him from losing a full season. But he understands the difference between being cleared to ramp up his activity level and actually returning to play basketball in a game.

One, of course, does not guarantee the other.

"You never know how it's going to go," Wall said. "Hopefully it heals the right way and I've been doing the right things I'm supposed to do. ... I want to be out there and play basketball with my teammates, but I just got to make sure I'm fully healthy before I go out and do that."

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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