John Wall's road to recovery continued on Tuesday morning as he went through an extensive workout following the Wizards' shootaround.
Wall practiced his shot cutting to different areas of the floor. He then went through dribble drills bursting to the rim around two Wizards' assistants.
This was one day after Wall participated in five-on-zero drills with the Wizards' starters. That group included Bradley Beal, who is happy to see his backcourt partner making progress following arthroscopic left knee surgery.
"He looks real good," Beal said. "I know he will be back in no time for sure."
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The Wizards will soon have to reincorporate Wall, who for much of the season has led them in usage rate. He is a huge focus of their offense.
While Wall has been out, Tomas Satoransky has filled in admirably at point guard but thinks will undoubtedly change with a five-time All-Star back in the fold.
The process of inserting Wall back into the mix is just beginning.
"We're excited," Beal said. "It's different seeing him out there because we haven't played with him for a long time. It's kind of like we welcomed a new player back into the team."
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On Monday, Wall ran through drills with the usual starting group, but also some combinations with Satoransky. Wall and Satoransky played some at both guard positions and Satoransky also played some at small forward.
Satoransky has averaged 11.1 points and 5.7 assists while shooting 55.7 percent from the field and 52.4 percent from three in Wall's absence. He has done enough to earn an expanded role even after Wall returns.
Beal sees potential in more time for Satoransky off the ball, something head coach Scott Brooks has confirmed will be tried.
"I wish I was 6-7 and athletic like Tomas," Beal said. "I think he might be the most athletic guy on the team. It's just throw it up at the rim."
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Satoransky will have to take a backseat once Wall comes back, but it's worth reminding everyone that Wall will not return in midseason form. It may take him some games to play his way into NBA game shape and also to recapture his rhythm.
Beal has missed extended periods of time and knows coming back in the middle of a season is not easy.
"It's going to take him a minute," Beal said. "You've gotta play in the game. It's totally different than practice. We're not trying to kill each other in practice. When John comes back, he will be facing playoff teams and then we're right into the playoffs. It's going to be a challenge for him. Like any injury, it will take him a few games."
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During the game, Rose finally connected with the organization, talking to Knicks General Manager Steve Mills by telephone and then exchanging text messages with Hornacek after the game. On Tuesday, Hornacek spoke to reporters after Rose did and tried to offer some sympathy for his player.
When it comes to family matters, Hornacek said, “are you thinking about anything else at that point?”
He added: “Your concern is for your family. He went back. Yeah, we would have loved for him to at least call and tell us that. But it is what it is.”
Rose also addressed his teammates Tuesday and spoke with Phil Jackson, the team’s president. Jackson did not speak with reporters Tuesday, nor did he do so after Monday night’s game, when it was still unclear, at least to the public, where Rose was.
In the past, Rose has pointed to his mother, Brenda, as a strong influence in his life. Although he acknowledged on Tuesday that he could have acted more thoughtfully when he left for Chicago — and admitted, too, that he had declined to answer the first phone calls from the Knicks — he insisted that he was preoccupied solely with family issues.
“Like I said, basketball didn’t have anything to do with this,” he said. “Losing games or, I don’t know, whatever y’all thought, it didn’t have anything to do with basketball at all.”
Both Rose and Hornacek disputed the idea that Rose’s absence was related to any possible friction between the two.
While Rose, 28, has put up decent numbers with the Knicks this season and has generally been healthy, he has had a series of challenging moments.
He missed several weeks of training camp because he was a defendant in a civil trial in Los Angeles in which he was accused of sexual assault. (He was found not liable.) As the regular season has progressed, Rose, who is not a strong defender, has seen his playing time occasionally curtailed by Hornacek. Most notably, he was benched for consecutive fourth quarters on Friday and Saturday as Hornacek turned to an undrafted rookie, Ron Baker, to play point guard in Rose’s place.
In the first of those two games, at Milwaukee, Baker led a rousing fourth-quarter comeback that gave the Knicks their only victory from their last nine games.
Rose will be a free agent at the end of the season, and the Knicks, who acquired him from Chicago in an off-season trade, may opt to look elsewhere rather than try to re-sign him. But he appeared undaunted on Tuesday when he was asked if he thought the past 24 hours had hurt his relationship with the organization.
“That’s something that you probably would have to ask them,” he said. “I really don’t know how they feel.”
He said that when he talked to the Knicks about Monday’s events, “everything was cool.”
He added, “They understood.”Continue reading the main story