'I'm sorry, coach.' Scott Brooks humbled by John Wall injury news

Chris Lingebach
February 06, 2019 - 9:04 am
'I'm sorry, coach.' Scott Brooks humbled by John Wall injury news

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

"I mean, he actually apologized," Wizards coach Scott Brooks relayed his text exchange with John Wall, after learning his star point guard would be out for the next year with a ruptured Achilles tendon. "He said, 'I'm sorry, coach.' And that hurt me."

It's been a hard week for Brooks, who first heard the news on Monday, before his Wizards went on to get drilled 137-129 by the inferior Hawks.

"It was a bad day all the way around," Brooks told The Sports Junkies during his regularly scheduled appearance, presented by Greenberg & Bederman.

"I talked to Ernie in the afternoon and he told me the news, and it was definitely a punch in the gut," he said. "It was a surprise. I mean, he was on his way. Had the surgery and was on his way to the recovery, I think they said six-to-eight months or nine months. Just a freak deal. Fell, slipped."

Already recovering from heel surgery that ended his season just after Christmas, Wall slipped and fell in his home last Tuesday, the team says, tacking an estimated 12 months onto an already taxing recovery process.

Asked if Wall told him how it happened, Brooks replied, "You know what? I never asked, because I've been hurt many times and that's the last thing you want to do, is continue to go into detail."

"I know it happened. It unfortunately happened," he said. "I feel bad for John. The guy loves the game. He competes, plays through everything, and this one, he can't play through. It hurts him."

"He knows he wants to be out there," Brooks added. "He knows it's hard on all of us, that you're talking about one of the best players in the league and he can't play. Like I said earlier, he's never been in this position many times where he can't play through everything, and this one, he's not going to be able to play through for up to maybe a year."

Brooks disagreed with the notion that Wall may never be the same after the injury.

"He's going to have to redefine himself," Eric Bickel said. "The John Wall that we have known to grow and love is no longer gonna be that guy anymore. It's just not possible."

"That's one opinion, but there's also the other side," said Brooks. "The other opinion is that he's still young. Most of these injuries happen in the mid-30s. And I agree with you on that, very rarely you can come back. Dominique Wilkins came back and was an All-Star."

"But different," Bickel interjected.

"Yeah, it was definitely different," Brooks acknowledged. "The only thing that I'm going to continue to encourage John and his group of people around him and our staff, is just continue to just focus on the day-to-day recovery, continue to be positive and do your job every day and let the outcome remain what it is."

"One thing about John," he said, "he's gonna give the effort, he's gonna be dilligent. Unfortunately for John, he's had a couple of these knee surgeries, so he knows how to rehab, he knows how to come back from injuries. And he's gonna have to just do it every day. It's gonna be a long process and he needs a lot of support from myself, our staff, our organization, the fans, his friends, everything.

"But John, he's tough. The guy is tough and he's built for this. He's built to be able to handle this obstacle that's in front of him, and once he gets through it, he's gonna have some tough days and he's gonna have some good days. He's just gonna have to just keep piling up those good days."

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