Washington Wizards point guard John Wall exited Sunday’s 116-104 loss to the Dallas Mavericks because of a right knee injury, although he does not have any structural damage, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. His status for Washington’s meeting Monday night with the first-place Miami Heat remains uncertain.
Wall collided knees with Mavericks forward Jeremy Evans late in the fourth quarter. The former University of Kentucky star gingerly exited the contest with help from teammates and without putting any weight on his right leg with 1 minutes 14 seconds left.
“I tried to take a step to go contest, and I didn’t have the strength and I just stopped,” said Wall, who said that the right knee was already bruised before the injury.
Wall said the knee was sore, but an X-ray did not reveal any structural damage and he was walking on his own after the game with a slight limp. He is traveling with the team to Miami and will be reevaluated Monday.
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The setback comes when Wall has been playing his best basketball of the season. The two-time all-star posted 28 points on 12-for-22 shooting, 10 assists, four rebounds, five steals and two turnovers in 40 minutes Sunday after averaging 28.7 points and 10 assists over the previous three games.
“You try and think positive,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal said. “You hate to see a guy go down for one. And two, it being John. But you know I’m positive at all times and we want him to be smart. So if he can’t go, another guy has to step up.”
The Wizards were already dealing with a depleted roster; they played Sunday with just 10 available players for the third time in eight games and will be shorthanded again Monday.
Starting center Marcin Gortat has missed the last two games because of a family matter and isn’t expected to rejoin the team Monday, while backup Nene (calf) won’t be on the trip to Miami and Alan Anderson (ankle) won’t be available. Big men Kris Humphries (ankle) and Drew Gooden III (calf) are questionable.
With just two traditional big men in uniform the last two games, the Wizards were forced to use extreme small-ball lineups, sometimes with four guards on the floor at the same time. Washington was able to overcome the depletion in Friday’s win over the Phoenix Suns, but succumbed in the second half Sunday.