By now, you've probably heard John Wall did some "light dribbling" with his injured hand on Tuesday. After a week of depressing updates about Wall's status, Tuesday's update was a sign of progress. If nothing else, it's a sign Wall and the Wizards still believe he can make it back out on the floor at some point in the playoffs. If the Wizards were intent on avoiding any risk of Wall reinjuring his hand, he wouldn't have been out on the practice floor taking the first baby steps towards a return.
Whether you like it or not, the choice has already been made: The Wizards are trying to get John Wall back on the court. So now the question becomes whether or not this is a good idea.
The benefits of Wall returning are undeniable. For as good as the Wizards have fared in Game 2 through 4 without Wall, there's still the inescapable sense that the Wizards could have this series wrapped up if Wall was healthy. Even now, in what amounts to a best of 3 series where the Hawks have homecourt advantage, Wall's presence would certainly help push the scales back in the Wizards' favor. From there, who knows? Cleveland and Chicago are slowly bludgeoning each other to death, so if Washington can sneak past them, anything can happen in the NBA Finals.
At the same time, the Wizards were not built to go broke for a title in 2015. John Wall is just entering his prime. Bradley Beal and Otto Porter are only 21, and Kevin Durant still hasn't even joined the team yet. There's simply no reason to jeopardize Wall's long-term health and the Wizards' best chances at title contention for a better chance at winning conference semi-final series.
We can all agree that if Wall could do more damage by playing there's no reason to risk it. We can also all agree if Wall is good to go and isn't in any danger of creating more issues, there's no reason not to play him. Beyond that, most of us have no clue what we're talking about here. We can talk about what we'd like to see, and hope and pray it works out, but there's no point in having an opinion on whether or not Wall should return, because we're not doctors. This isn't a question about how to draw up plays for Bradley Beal, this is a question about the structural integrity of someone's hand.
We've created a quiz to help determine whether or not your opinion on John Wall's health actually matters:
Even though we've learned so much about the way hands and wrists work over the past two weeks, we still have no idea how they actually work. If any of us were handed a scalpel right now and asked to perform an operation on someone's hand, we'd all be sued.
The only people whose opinion matters are the ones who can actually determine whether or not Wall can play basketball. No doctor gets every decision right -- and to be fair, it's harder to be correct in a field like sports medicine, when doctors know their patients don't have the luxury of taking their sweet time to fully recover most of the time -- but they're in a much, much better position to judge Wall's status than anyone else. Whatever recommendation they give, we're in no position to question it, because we're way out of our league here.
If the doctors say Wall still isn't good enough to play when take a look at him, that stinks, but at least we know. If they say he's healthy enough to get back out on the floor, it's probably because their years of study in the field give them enough confidence to say that. The rest of us are just talking about risk analysis.