The Washington Wizards will see their best player return for Wednesday's pivotal Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 5 at the Atlanta Hawks. Eight days after being declared out of Game 2 with a left wrist injury later diagnosed as five non-displaced fractures, Wall has been made active for Game 5 at Philips Arena. As noted by Chris Miller of CSN Washington, the two-time All-Star plans to start with no minutes restriction:
— Chris Miller (@cmillscsn) May 13, 2015
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com has video of Wall taking shots just before Game 5 without any protection on his left wrist:
John Wall warming up on Philips Arena floor. pic.twitter.com/2Ad8JcMKIX
— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) May 13, 2015
Given the extent of Wall's fractures, it was assumed by many that he would be out for the rest of this series and perhaps the entirety of the postseason. However, with the Wizards facing a critical game, he apparently has decided to test his capabilities.
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If Wall is indeed close to full strength, then the Wizards are sure to benefit from his presence. Prior to his injury, Wall had created the most points per game via his assists of any player in the playoffs by a significant margin and looked every bit the game-changing lead guard that he has become over the past few seasons. While the Wizards performed well in winning one (and nearly two) of three games in his absence, the team clearly missed his star ability in several key spots.
Wall's return is no guarantee of the Wizards' success, but it stands as very bad news for the Hawks, who have underperformed this postseason after nabbing the East's best regular-season record with no substantive challenge. Atlanta has appeared lacking in urgency throughout these first two round and will now have to bring much more energy to take down Washington. Game 5 should be a fascinating test for both sides.
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