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John Wall ‘fine’ if Wizards draft point guard: ‘He can be a great backup’

April 10, 2019

John Wall pays attention to his critics. Standing in the hallway of Capital One Arena and with a medical scooter keeping his left leg in place, the Wizards point guard said he reads “all the articles,” the ones that say he won’t be able to return to form after tearing his Achilles in February.

It fuels him.

“It’s fun to me,” Wall said.

Despite his confidence that his career is far from over, Wall said Tuesday he won’t be offended if the Wizards draft a point guard this summer. After losing 116-110 to the Boston Celtics, the Wizards finished the season with a 32-50 record currently the sixth-worst in the NBA.

Wall is expected to miss most if not all of next season, and if the Wizards land the second or third overall pick in the draft lottery, Murray State’s Ja Morant could be an appealing option, granted he’s available.

The Wizards have a 37.2 percent chance to have a top-four draft pick and a nine percent chance to secure the first overall pick.

“I’d be fine,” Wall said. “I don’t have no problem with that because it is what it is. You have to do what’s best for the team and make sure that we have pieces.

“And when I come back, he can be a great backup to me.”

Wall said he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to play next season. It has been nearly two months since the 28-year-old underwent surgery to repair his torn Achilles. Wall suffered the injury in his home, weeks after having season-ending surgery to fix bone spurs in his heel.

The five-time All-Star said he won’t need to use his medical scooter once he gets his stitches removed, which he said will happen “soon.” Following that, Wall estimated he’ll be in his walking boot for a month.

By the end of the summer, Wall hopes he’ll be able to start jogging, dribbling and shooting. He plans on spending the offseason in Miami, where he’ll rehab. Wall said he’s talked with close friend, college teammate and Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins, who suffered the same injury last year, to get perspective on the recovery process.

The Wizards, meanwhile, continue to publicly back Wall. Owner Ted Leonsis said last week he visited his star point guard at his home to watch Wall’s alma mater, the University of Kentucky. Coach Scott Brooks also has voiced his support for Wall being able to get back to an All-Star level.

“He has a lot of work ahead of him, there’s no question,” Brooks said. ”... But he will work. He’s very motivated. I talked to him, text him. He’s excited about the challenge ahead of him. But he’s definitely gonna have a lot of tough days and he’s going to fight through them. He’s gonna overcome.”

There are legitimate concerns, however, when it comes to projecting Wall’s future. Appearing in just 32 games this season, Wall has missed a total of 91 games dating back to the beginning of the 2017-18 season. In addition to his Achilles surgery, the 28-year-old has already had multiple knee surgeries throughout his career.

Combined with the fact that Wall’s four-year, $170 million supermax extension begins next season, it’s easy to see why people have expressed skepticism.

Even Wizards’ medical director Dr. Wiemi Douoguih said there’s no way to tell if Wall will be the same player.

“We don’t have a whole lot of data on elite NBA point guards with tendon ruptures,” Douoguih said in February. “John is an unusual specimen because of his talent, his abilities and the demands placed on his body. So, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Asked aboutDouoguih’s comment, Wall said he doesn’t “really pay no mind” to it.

“They do the surgery,” Wall said. “That’s their job. They do their best. It’s my job to get myself back to where I think I can be. No matter what any surgeon does, if I don’t attack rehab the right way or make sure I’m in the best shape, the right state of mind it doesn’t matter.

“Any time you come back from injury, if you’re going to be out there playing basketball and keep constantly thinking about it every time you’re out there you’re never going to be the same.”

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