Paul Pierce tried to put up a confident front. He had to. But like his nickname, Pierce knows the truth of the situation. The Washington Wizards’ budding hopes and dreams of reaching a conference finals and (gasp!) perhaps even the NBA Finals for the first time since 1979 are now as fractured as John Wall’s cracked left hand and wrist. The Wizards revealed on Thursday that their franchise quarterback has five non-displaced fractures in his injured left wrist and hand. “To play so well throughout these playoffs, to hear that type of news, I know it is devastating,” Pierce said of Wall.
The team said it has yet to determine Wall’s status for the best-of-seven series, which resumes on Saturday tied 1-1. But let’s face it, the news felt like a deathblow. Actually, Wall’s five non-displaced fractures felt like D.C. had been struck with the “Five-Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique.” Perhaps over the next few days or later in this series, Washington will get some unexpected good news. But even if the swelling in his hand were to go down and Wall were somehow cleared to play, Washington would be trying to win with its best player injured and at a disadvantage.
Pierce suffered a non-displaced fracture of the third metacarpal in his right shooting hand in 2013 as a Net. Initially diagnosed with a recovery timetable of two to four weeks, Pierce missed just four games and returned 11 days later to play with a glove on his hand. But that was a single non-displaced fracture, not five. The Wizards don’t play again until Saturday, which will be nearly a week after Wall suffered his injury. And Game 4 will be Monday. But so much of Wall’s game requires his left hand, whether it be his nasty crossover dribble or needing it to brace his falls when he attacks the rim at warp speed. And what if a Hawks player happens to come down on his hand/wrist during a game?
Trying to win a playoff game without your best player is difficult enough, let alone trying to win a playoff series, especially at this stage of the postseason. Sure, the Hawks are beatable. Washington not only proved that in Game 1 with Wall, but it almost proved it without Wall in Game 2. But even if the Wizards somehow get by Atlanta, they would have a slim chance of winning the conference finals without Wall or even with him at less than 100 percent.
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