Brooks: Injury kept John Wall from playing 'up to his level'

Josh Luckenbaugh
January 02, 2019 - 9:34 am

The Wizards' season took yet another tough turn Saturday when the team announced John Wall will undergo season-ending surgery to address bone spurs in his left heel.

Washington head coach Scott Brooks says it was evident how the injury was affecting the All-Star point guard on the court. 

"He fights through everything, and he doesn't let anybody know," Brooks (presented by Greenberg & Bederman) told The Sports Junkies Wednesday. "I have to pull teeth to get anything out of him."

"He always says, 'I'm good, I'm good, Coach, I'm good, I'm good,' but I know how he plays, and he didn't play up to his level. But he gave everything he had because he knew it was important to the team, and there were some games he was able to manage it and play well, and there was games he didn't play well."

"He wanted to continue to play and fight through it, but he's doing what's best for him, and hopefully everything goes well," Brooks continued. "He's as tough as they come, and I knew it was serious when he was willing to sit out in practice and sit out in games."

Wall's injury came at a bad time for the Wizards, who currently are sitting in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, three games out of the eighth and final playoff spot. But Brooks sees it as an "opportunity" for the rest of the team to step up, just as they did when Wall missed 41 games last season. 

"It also gives myself and our team opportunities to grow, and sometimes when things aren't the way you thought it would be, something jumps out at you," he said. "Last year, it was Tomas Satoransky, you never know who it's gonna be this year."

"But guys are gonna be given different roles, and I feel confident they're gonna play well. We definitely have had a tough start to the year, but no one feels sorry for us. We've got to go out there and compete."

With Wall out, expect to see more of Chasson Randle and 2018 first-round pick Troy Brown Jr. picking up some of the minutes at point guard.

"This is gonna give (Randle) a good opportunity to see if he's good enough to stick in this league, and I think he is," Brooks told the Junkies. "He's tough-minded defensively, he battles up and down the court with the opponent's back-up point guard. He can make shots, he can create; the thing he's gonna have to continue to work on is trying to be a better play-maker."

"(Brown)'s definitely going to get opportunities, and he has good size. What he's lacking is experience, but you only gain that one day at a time in the NBA. The Go-Go (the Wizards' G-League affiliate) has been great for him, he's got plenty of time down there ... Looking forward to seeing his growth the remainder of the season."

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