Wizards media day: John Wall drawing inspiration from his father, rookie season

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

As he prepares for a pivotal third season that has already gone off track due to a knee injury, John Wall is drawing motivation from unexpected sources.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As John Wall tries to deal with his left knee injury and the expectations for his third season in the league -- a "bump in the road" is how he described the former -- he said he drew motivation from a source I did not expect him to name.

"I'm just thinking about my dad a lot, wondering how he'd want me to play and what things he'd be telling me," Wall said. "I'm motivated all day. I'm motivated because [my third season] is what my career is basically made of."

Wall's father died before Wall ever got to know the extent of his crimes. In fact, Wall didn't even know that his father was in prison for murder until Washington Post reporter Eric Prisbell told him prior to publishing this 2010 feature story. To hear Wall say that he's thinking of his father was pretty jarring to me. Perhaps it shows just how far he's digging deep to make sure his all-important third season is a good one.

"You're totally down," Wall said when asked for his reaction to the injury that will sideline him for eight weeks. "I put in a lot of hard work this summer, it was a serious summer for me. I worked as hard as I could to prepare myself for the season, and to start it off by waiting, it's kind of frustrating. [When I heard the news], I just walked out of the room, and the whole ride home, I didn't talk to nobody. I turned off my phone."

Wall said his rehabilitation mostly entails a lot of rest. He's not able to participate in any physical basketball activities, so he's relegated to the weight room and stationary dribbling. He joked that he's going to spend all his time playing video games as his injury recovers, but he was serious about not rushing back to the court. He said he did that when he dealt with tendonitis as a rookie, and he learned his lesson.

"My rookie year, I came back earlier than I was supposed to. So I'm just learning from that and maturing. I don't want to rush anything back, because this is something different with my knee."

In the meantime, Wall seemed pretty committed to making this injury a "bump in the road." He knows how important this season is to his career. Maybe that's why he's digging deep.

Editor's Note: I regret the errors made in characterizing Prisbell's piece. The changes have been made.

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