The wait is over. John Wall is back in the lineup for the Washington Wizards. The all-star guard missed nearly two weeks after undergoing treatment in his left knee to control discomfort and inflammation. Washington wasn’t the typical incompetent offense that it normally transforms into once Wall is out and they were able to maintain a winning record with Wall shelved.

Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) goes to the basket against Los Angeles Clippers forward Jamil Wilson (13) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, in Washington. The Wizards won 100-91. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

A 103-98 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 12 overshadowed Bradley Beal’s 28 points but that would be the last game the Wizards would play in the week without Wall as the guard returned to close out Washington’s last two games of the week. A 93-87 win over Memphis on Dec. 13 and a 100-91 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Dec. 15 were bright spots for the Wizards as they closed the week with a 16-13 record, allowing them to maintain their lead in the Southeast Division while inching up to fourth in the East standings.

Rumors continue to swirl about Washington potentially landing Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and Friday’s home game was a good chance for the fans to serenade Jordan with positivity as several in attendance shouted welcoming chants to the big man. Jordan finished the game with 12 points and 16 rebounds, flashing the type of agility and paint dominance that Wizards fans can only envision Wall being able to use on screen plays and alley-oops. Los Angeles is reportedly seeking a huge haul for Jordan that has probably soured Washington’s chances unless the team is willing to deal third-year swing man Kelly Oubre Jr. However, Washington’s front office has made it clear that the slender forward isn’t up for sale. Landing Jordan would be huge but not at the expense of a young talent like Oubre.

Wall averages 14 points and 4.5 assists in his two games back from extended vacation and could take a while to fully round back into playing shape. Washington welcomes Wall back at the right time with a Dec. 17 showdown looming with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wall’s return could be just the boost the team needs as it tries to eke out a place in the Conference’s top three teams. But, the current leaders—Cleveland, Boston and Toronto—currently possess single-digit losses on their resumes while Washington and six other teams have between 13 and 14 losses already. The margin of error isn’t particularly huge for the Wizards, and returning Wall should at least help Washington break away from the pack.

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO