John Wall will not join the Washington Wizards to resume the NBA season this summer, ending the five-time all-star guard's chances of playing his first game since 2018.
General Manager Tommy Sheppard effectively ruled out Wall's return this season when he said the 29-year-old would not be part of the Wizards' tour group to Central Florida on Monday.
The decision factors included an upper limit of 35 people per team in the quarantine bubble in Walt Disney World. The COVID-19 pandemic also hindered Wall's progress in his rehab through multiple operations.
"He definitely lost all the basketball winnings he made," Sheppard said in a video call to reporters. "He has to focus on what he has to do, but if someone goes into that bubble that won't play, more people just go into the bubble."
Wall hasn't played an NBA game since December 2018. The surgery for bone spur on his left heel ended this season. As he worked his way back, he tore his left Achilles tendon and needed another operation in 2019.
At the end of May, he declared himself "110 percent" healthy and said: "I itch to be out there again." The wizards slowed down, which means Wall will try to return as originally planned for the 2020-21 season.
"He was fantastic at maintaining his weight and being active all this time, and this will be a continuation of the work and plan we did for him," said Daniel Medina, director of sports management and Performance of magicians. "We will ensure that his body and mind are at the highest level to ensure a safe and successful return when he comes back."
Sheppard said Wall would continue to work under team supervision in Washington and Miami. Trainers who do not belong to the group of 35 quarantines in Disney World will be available to monitor his progress.
"The last thing I ever have to worry about is John Wall's work ethic," said Sheppard. "He'll come after that. It's a very critical off-season for him and I think he has a very, very big chip on his shoulder. I think he just wants to play basketball again."
When the season was interrupted in mid-March, Wizards were 24-40 and ninth in the Eastern Conference, 5 1/2 games behind eighth place Orlando Magic.
As one of 22 returning teams, Washington has an outside chance without Wall – and striker Davis Bertans, who has signed off – to secure a place in the playoffs.
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