The Washington Wizards have been without five-time All-Star point guard John Wall since December 26, 2018. It will be nearly two years later when he makes his return at the start of the 2020-21 season on December 22. While on the West Coast to scrimmage against the likes of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, Wall caught up with rookie year teammate and close friend Gilbert Arenas. Here are some of the highlight quotes.
On long-term injury misdiagnosis:
“They said I had tendinitis for 6 years. Over time, it’s a bone spur, growing and growing. I couldn’t even sit, my leg had to be straight in the back seat of a car. If I bend it this much, it feels like someone stabbed me with a knife. So I had to get a second opinion and then they tell me, no way in hell you should have been playing on this for 6 years, I don’t even know how you were an All-Star. For me to be averaging 20 and 9 on one leg, imagine if I get two legs again.”
On his drive to return:
“I had three infections. Most people with an Achilles injury, they’d say, ‘you’re done.’ You lose your explosiveness, all that. My mindset was I can prove everybody wrong so I attacked my rehab at a different level. I took my time. … I had to take those baby steps and believe in myself and have the right team around me to get back to where I eventually want to get to.”
On diversifying his game:
“If it’s game point or somebody makes me mad, I’m gonna do what I do best and that’s get to the rim or go to my left. Today I am trying to get to my right and shoot right-hand pull-ups, shoot pull up threes. A lot of times I don’t have to do that because I know what I can get to and nobody going to stop me from getting there so it’s like do the other shit so when the game gets serious you can. Now if I get to the end of the game in a regular-season game, I’m confident with a pull-up three. Before it was like I got to get to my mid-range or to the rim, that’s all I could trust. Like [Arenas] said, keep trying and keep working on that, that’s when you get better. My workouts in the past have been great workouts, but what am I going to the rim dunking for or shooting layups, I’m great at that already. Do the other stuff I’m just average at and get that to be great.”