ESPN News Services
Already done for this season after one operation, Wizards point guard John Wall now will miss most — if not all — of next season, too, because he needs surgery on his left Achilles tendon, which he tore in a fall at home.
Wizards team doctor Wiemi Douoguih said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters that he discovered the partial rupture of the tendon during a procedure done Monday to address an infection from the operation on Wall’s left heel on Jan. 8.
The 28-year-old Wall’s Achilles surgery has not been scheduled yet. Douoguih said it probably will be next week.
Wall, whose game is built around his speed and ability to drive to the basket, is expected to be able to return to what the team called “full basketball activities” about a year after that operation. Douoguih estimated the recovery range for Wall’s injury, “at John’s age,” to be from 11 to 15 months.
There is no way to know what sort of player Wall will be when he returns, Douoguih said.
“Unfortunately,” he added, “we don’t have a lot of data on elite NBA point guards with tendon ruptures.”
Douoguih said Wall was not wearing his walking boot — which is OK while at home — when he slipped and tumbled on Jan. 29.
“He never heard a pop,” Douoguih said. “He had a slight increase in discomfort.”
So the Achilles problem wasn’t known until Monday.
Wall, who is making $19.2 million this season, is signed through the 2022-23 season. He will make $38.2 million next season, $41.2 million in 2020-21, $44.3 million in 2021-22 and $47.3 million in 2022-23.
He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft out of Kentucky and was an All-Star each of the past five seasons. But a series of injuries will have robbed him of much of what usually are a player’s prime years.
He played in only 41 games last season, when he had an operation on his left knee. Wall also had surgery on both knees in 2016.
“I talked to him this morning,” Cousins said after practice. “It sucks. It’s unfortunate. But me knowing John as long as I do, I know he’ll overcome this. There’s no doubt in my mind about that. He’s overcome a lot of hard obstacles in his life and prepare to just add this to the list.”
Cousins’ advice to Wall was simple.
“I basically just told him prepare for the hard days because it’s a lot of them,” Cousins said. “Through it all, just try to make sure you better yourself each day. And once that day’s behind you, just move on to the next, regardless of the result. That was my advice. Like I said, there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll overcome this.”
The news might change the way the club approaches Thursday’s trade deadline, because while this season was basically a throwaway after injuries to Wall, Dwight Howard and Markieff Morris, the uncertainty surrounding the point guard for next season makes the franchise’s future even harder to assess.
Even though the team has been without Wall for 18 games, during which the Wizards have gone 9-9, owner Ted Leonsis insisted last week that he expects Washington to make a run for a playoff spot.
“You have to go to the players, the coach, the staff and say, ‘Do we have enough to make the playoffs?’ And to a person, I was told, ‘Yes, we do,'” Leonsis told WTOP last week.
The Wizards are 22-31 this season, sitting in 10th in the Eastern Conference, three games back of the eighth-place Miami Heat.
Washington plays at the East-leading Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
ESPN staff writer Nick Friedell and The Associated Press contributed to this report.