This is so hard to put in words. So. F*cking. Hard. I mean, the dejection; the devastation; the despair. The abomination that has been DC sports for decades. The venomous viper which never finds a quench for the thirst it has for cursing the fans of Washington has bitten us once again. You see, I can’t even manage a fulfilling metaphor to describe the travesty.
The Curse of Les Boulez?
F*ck it. Check all of the above. Because this is about as bad as we’ll ever get it as Wizards fans. And the timing couldn’t have been worse.
The probable loss of John Wall for any remaining portion of the postseason, potentially all of it, has me lowly like Toni Braxton after Tyson Beckford died in that motorcycle accident, holding my knees, naked under a shower head.
“Unbreak my heart, John. Tell me you’ll play again. Undo this hurt that you caused when you slammed on the floor and you fractured your wrist. Un-cry these tears, because I’ll cry so many nights. Unbreak my heart…”
/pulls a Kleenex/gathers himself/proceeds to mournfully type.
The Wizards had just began mutating into this never-seen-before powerhouse of a basketball team here in the 2015 Playoffs, with offensive strategies reformed, an increased level of aggression implemented, spearheaded by the tough-nosed leadership of young stars and seasoned vets alike. They were coasting; they were confident, even despite the Game 2 loss in Atlanta on Tuesday. They were deemed ECF-bound by a good many, even NBA Finals-bound in the eyes of a few.
Then came the fall…
The image of John Wall rolling on the Philips Arena hardwood and clutching his left wrist in excruciating pain had our hearts clogged somewhere down in our intestines. But his quick return to the game shortly after the hard tumble regurgitated our previously swallowed hearts, as he then proceeded to finish what he started, dismantling the Atlanta Hawks limb by limb on their home floor and taking Game 1 to the tune of 18 points, 13 assists, and this demoralizing block on Paul Millsap:
A day later, X-rays were performed on John, and despite coming back negative, hopes of him being fit for Game 2 still simmered when pictures of his ballooned hand surfaced over Twitter timelines, giving us very little conviction that he’d be alright to play. While Wall remained determined to suit up, he inevitably became a last minute scratch just before tip-off. This was a decision that speared into us, as we knew very well the detriment of Wall’s absence in a playoff game, but it was also a decision that offered some contentment, given the fact that the Wizards’ worst case scenario would be splitting the first two games in Atlanta, and that in the meanwhile Wall would be able to rest his hand for the next five days before Game 3.
The worst indeed did come upon us, and then some. While the Wizards lost and the series is now split at 1-1, Wall sought a third opinion on his wrist, and the MRI’s revealed the unimaginable: five non-displaced fractures in his left hand. Timetable for return: TSD (Too Swollen to Determine)
The consensus reaction of #WizardsTwitter, undoubtedly:
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) May 7, 2015
So, what does all this mean, exactly?
Non-displaced fractures are a clean break in the bone where the bone still remains aligned properly, thus can heal faster. This MAY give Wall the option to wear a protective sleeve or stint that will allow him to play through the pain. Of course, this would unquestionably impact Wall’s production and would hinder his ball-handling, practically turning him into Jaime Lannister wielding a sword with a hand he doesn’t use very often. Perhaps the Wizards should hire Bronn to their staff to help train Wall perform with one hand or some shit, IDK IDK IDK.
Whatever the end result of Wall’s injury is, the bottom line is the Wizards are more or less nothing without him. I love you, Wizards fans and especially those of you on #WizardsTwitter. I love your optimism and I love the fire within you that struggles not to wane in the face of an atrocity like this one — at least that’s how your tweets come off. For all I know you all could be presenting your #PositivePixels with gooey fingers drenched with your snot and tears, the sight of your drowing emotions protected by a computer screen and keyboard. But reality will prove to you that the Wizards are in a heap of trouble without their world-class point guard at the helm, and there’s simply no dodging that.
My guy Irfan wrote a fantastic column a few weeks ago assessing John Wall as a player who holds the most value to his team, and asking the one simple question:
The answer is a place that is not a fun one. According to Irfan’s piece, John Wall was right up there with five MVP candidates in terms of generating points via scoring and assists this season. Check it:
Now, mind you, while Wall is at the bottom of that list, the team he plays for – the Washington Wizards – isn’t nearly the scoring threat the teams the other guys play for, as seen in this chart:
This alone proves to you John Wall is everything. More than anything any other player is to any other team. Period. He’s the stabilizer, the facilitator, the general. He is a decoy for wing shooters. He has a floor vision so precise that you would think there’s a Bering Optics Monocular Kit implanted in his skull. Besides his offense, he’s elite on defense. He is an impassioned student of the game. A coach on the sideline. A cheerleader for his teammates. An edgy baller who handles his grudges against his critics and naysayers on the floor, rather than with words (unlike me..fuck you Colin Cowherd).
The Wizards have an adequate cast of players used as arsenal for John Wall. Otto Porter has morphed into an all-purpose serviceman. Bradley Beal has refined his game to become more aggressive and take more 3’s. Paul Pierce is irreplaceable as a clutch playoff performer and leader. Marcin Gortat sets the tone. The Wizards are a cargo van, a BangBus if you will, of playmakers. However, without its dedicated driver, the road to the team’s ultimate destination has suddenly become a rocky, nearly uncrossable one.
While I am hopeful my speculation about the Wizards’ fate without John Wall remains just that..speculation, there’s absolutely no question that this team will continue swinging.
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) May 7, 2015
#dcSPORTS was #dcRISING, and has now become #dcHOPING. Merely, just ‘Another Sad Love Song’ sung by the tormented fans of this city. Take us away, Toni.