John Wall‘s injury issues have gone from bad to worse, according to a new announcement from the Wizards. After initially undergoing season-ending surgery on his left heel last month, Wall developed an infection in the incision from that surgery, then suffered a ruptured left Achilles tendon when he slipped and fell in his home, the team announced today in a press release.
As a result of the new injury, Wall will undergo surgery to repair his ruptured Achilles tendon. That procedure will likely happen next week, per Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link). According to the club, the veteran point guard is expected to return to full basketball activity in approximately 12 months after undergoing that surgery.
It’s brutal news for the Wizards and for Wall, who will enter the first year of a four-year, maximum-salary contract extension in 2019/20. That extension has a projected starting salary of $38.15MM and a projected total value of $170.91MM. However, it doesn’t sound like Wall will play much – if at all – during the first season of his new deal, as the 12-month timeline would keep him on the shelf until around the All-Star break in 2020.
Even when Wall returns, it will likely take him some time to get back up to speed, if previous NBA Achilles injuries are any indication. Considering he’s a player who relies so much on his quickness and explosiveness, there’s also no guarantee he’ll recapture his pre-injury form. He’ll be 29 years old by the time he gets back on the court for the Wizards.
The Wizards will now have to address their point guard position this offseason, since they’ll be without Wall for much of the 2019/20 campaign. Tomas Satoransky, who has assumed Wall’s spot in the starting lineup, will be eligible for restricted free agency this summer. We heard last month that Washington had explored a possible in-season extension for Satoransky, who would be eligible for a four-year contract worth up to about $47.5MM.
Before going down for the season, Wall was his usual productive self for the Wizards, averaging 20.7 PPG and 8.7 APG with a .444 FG% in 32 games. However, Washington was well below .500 at the time of Wall’s injury and remains on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture today. The 22-31 Wizards are tied for 10th in the East with Orlando.
Despite the Wizards’ struggles, owner Ted Leonsis has said a playoff spot is still the goal, stressing that the franchise has no plans to trade any of its Big Three (Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter). Of course, Wall’s value would be in the tank at this point anyway, so he won’t be a trade candidate anytime soon.
As Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer and Michael Lee of The Athletic observe (via Twitter), the one silver lining for Wall is that he signed his extension from the Wizards while it was available to him in 2017. If he had passed on that offer, he would have been in line for unrestricted free agency this July, and would have found himself in a position similar to the one DeMarcus Cousins was in last year.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.