John Wall's early-season struggles have been frustrating, especially because he has not been getting into the lane and breaking down the defense like he usually does. Some have suggested that this could be health-related. Wall developed back spasms during the home opener against the 76ers, and while he's yet to sit out any games, he's been spotted lying down Steve Nash-style on the bench with a heating pad during timeouts.
As it turns out ... those struggles might indeed be health-related. From Michael Lee's story today:
Ever since he started experiencing lower back pain in the second game of the season, Wall has felt the discomfort come and go. Sharp pain sometimes wakes him up in the middle of the night and the fear of more flare-ups forces him to rest on a heating pad when he's not in the game.
Wall refuses to use his health issues as an excuse, saying "it's something I can deal with," but it may explain some of Wall's reluctance to drive.
Back injuries are scary because they don't just go away easily; usually, it's a matter of managing the pain. I'm still dealing with a herniated disc over four months after I suffered it, and that wasn't even an injury induced by any sort of activity. I kind of just woke up with it. Wall is probably going to have to deal with this for some time.
With than in mind, my suggestion, based on anecdotal evidence (in other words, I'm not a doctor, so don't treat this as fact), is to stop worrying that a flare-up will happen. There's definitely a mental aspect to this. Whenever I freaked out that my back was not getting better, or worried that it would be a problem long into the future, it felt worse. Whenever I didn't worry about it or felt optimistic that it was temporary, it felt better. Wall's fear of more flare-ups may actually be causing the pain to remain. If he goes out and doesn't worry about it, he may feel better emotionally, which will in turn help him feel better physically.
Just my two cents.
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