Washington point guard John Wall will have season-ending surgery to address bone spurs in his left heel, the latest blow to the reeling Wizards.
The Wizards announced Saturday night that the five-time All-Star will undergo the surgery in Green Bay, Wisconsin sometime in the next few days. Wall was told earlier Saturday that surgery was the best option, and he and the team conferred hours later before a final decision was made.
"I've been with him for almost three years,'' Washington coach Scott Brooks said Saturday before the Wizards hosted Charlotte. "He's as tough as they come. He never complained. He wanted to compete for his team, but it got to a point where he had to make some tough decisions. And that's why he met with a specialist.''
Wall has yet to address the surgical option publicly. He walked through the Wizards' locker room Saturday night with a gray protective boot on his left foot. The Wizards tried to manage his pain situation by limiting him in some practices and shootarounds, but rest is no longer the best option.
The Wizards said Wall will undergo a debridement, a repair of a Haglund's deformity - described as a bony enlargement on the back of the heel - and a repair of a chronic Achilles tendon injury. He is expected to be sidelined six to eight months.
"He's a great talent,'' Charlotte coach James Borrego said. "Great player.''
Wall went to Wisconsin to see Green Bay Packers associate team physician Dr. Robert Anderson on Saturday, and it will be Anderson performing the procedure. Anderson is considered an elite doctor when it comes to athletes dealing with foot and ankle problems - as evidenced by a client list that has included, among others, Cam Newton, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Derek Jeter.
Wall played in 32 of Washington's 36 games this season entering Saturday, averaging 20.7 points and 8.7 assists even while dealing with the heel pain - which has been an issue for him many times over the past two to three years. But the Wizards have struggled this season, with the 24th-best record in the 30-team NBA to this point, and losing Wall is obviously a significant blow.
"If you're doing the right things, you can withstand all storms thrown at you,'' Brooks said. "And our guys are going to do the right things.''
Wall was limited to 41 games last season, mostly because of surgery on his left knee. He also underwent surgeries on both knees in 2016.
His absence means the Wizards - who have a slew of other injury woes - are now without the point guard and center that they envisioned having when the season began. Dwight Howard has been limited to nine games because of lumbar surgery, and is likely to be out for another couple months at least.
"We're here to win games,'' Brooks said. "We're not here to make excuses. I've never made an excuse as a player, and I've never made one as a coach, and I'm not going to start now. I don't like it. I don't like that our center is out, I don't like that if it happens that our point guard is out. It's not a good combination to have. But it gives everybody an opportunity, including myself, to grow and figure out things on the fly.''