The Washington Wizards formally ruled out five-time All-Star point guard John Wall for the season on Monday.
Wall hasn’t played this season while recovering from a torn left Achilles tendon. He said in late May that he was 110 percent healthy, but the Wizards feel the coronavirus outbreak impeded Wall’s progress and indicated he won’t be part of the travel party to the Orlando area.
“He definitely lost all the basketball gains that he had made,” Washington general manager Tommy Sheppard said Monday during a video conference call with reporters. “He’s got to focus on what he’s got to do, but having somebody go into that bubble that’s not going to play, that’s just more people going into the bubble.”
Wall, 29, will continue his rehab in Washington and Miami, the latter city representing an approximate 3 1/2-hour drive to Orlando. The focus will be on helping Wall get fully healthy for the 2020-21 season.
Wall hasn’t played in an NBA game since December 2018. He has also endured two surgeries on his left knee, one on his right knee and one on his left heel since the end of the 2015-16 season.
Wall ruptured the Achilles tendon in an accident at home in February 2019 while recovering from the heel surgery.
In May, Wall said, “I’m itching to get back out there,” creating some optimism he might be able to play in the restarted season, now slated to begin July 30.
Though the Wizards weren’t looking for Wall to return, they also weren’t surprised to see his competitive side emerge.
“The last thing I ever have to worry about is John Wall’s work ethic,” Sheppard said. “He’s going to get after this. This is a very critical offseason to him, and I think he’s got a very, very big chip on his shoulder. I think he just really wants to get back to playing basketball.”
Wall averaged 20.7 points, 8.7 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 32 games during the 2018-19 season before his injuries. He has career averages of 19 points, 9.2 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 573 contests.
Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, is the franchise’s all-time leader in steals (976) and assists (5,282) and ranks fourth in points (10,879).
The Wizards (24-40) are ninth in the Eastern Conference and trail the eighth-place Orlando Magic by 5 1/2 games for the final playoff spot.