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Wall already had season-ending surgery on his left heel to repair a nagging Achilles injury. According to the Wizards, the five-time All-Star slipped and fell at his home recently, which led to the rupture. He’s expected to be out for a year in order to recover.
USA Today‘s Jeff Zillgitt provided more information on the injury from Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, the Wizards’ director of medical services:
Jeff Zillgitt @JeffZillgitt
Wizards director of medical services & orthopedist Dr. Wiemi Douoguih on John Wall
* Not completely ruptured
* Fall happened Jan. 29
* Had slight increase in discomfort after fall. Seemed like tendon was OK at the time.
* Timeline is center of range: 11-15 months is normal range
The team also said Wall had developed an infection on his heel where the doctors performed the initial surgery.
Wall’s Achilles rupture is a massive setback for him and the Wizards.
Even if his recovery goes to plan, he’s going to miss a huge chunk of the 2019-20 season. Then there are the long-term concerns regarding whether Wall can play at an All-Star level again. A number of notable NBA players have seen their careers irreparably altered as the result of a major Achilles injury.
Before Wall’s first surgery earlier this winter, his four-year, $169.3 million supermax extension was looking like an albatross on the Wizards payroll.
In November, ESPN.com’s Kevin Pelton ranked Wall as Washington’s third-worst trade asset, in large part because of his massive contract and inability to provide on-court value equal to a max deal. Now, any hope the Wizards might have had of trading Wall down the line might be going out the window.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has been adamant about not wanting to see the team tank and build for the future. Wall’s injury may force Leonsis to rethink his mindset.
Starting next season, Washington will pay Wall an average of $42.3 million annually over four years, which will hinder the franchise’s financial flexibility. Mediocrity might now be the ceiling for the Wizards, so they may as well start bottoming out and collecting lottery picks to usher in a new era.