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Wizards' Wall hopes to return sooner than expected

WASHINGTON (AP) - Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, tabbed to miss the first month of the regular season with a left knee injury, hopes he'll return sooner than expected.

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``Luckily, I'm young,'' said Wall, who was diagnosed with the early stages of a stress injury to his left knee cap. ``Hopefully, it'll heal quicker than what it takes older people.''

Wall averaged 16.3 points, 8.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game last season. He said he can't do any basketball activity besides standstill dribbling as he enters his third season out of Kentucky.

``It's tough,'' Wall said. ``I just try to keep positive people around me, try to stay positive, don't think negative.''

Martell Webster said he spoke with Wall shortly after signing with the Wizards in August, and Wall told him his knee was ``a little uncomfortable, but it was something he could work through.''

After being examined in New York on Thursday, Wall said he turned his phone off and didn't talk to anyone on his way back to Washington.

``It was a surprise to me,'' Webster said. ``Just imagine what it was for him when he found out the actual result. But he's going to get through it. He's got high spirits. I've been here doing this workout regimen with him, just to let him know I'm in his corner and help him get through it.''

For now, Wall's routine is to ``play video games, sleep, play video games.'' He said he will be patient with his return.

``I'm just glad they found it before it got real bad,'' Wall said. ``It could have got real bad. I could have probably tore it or missed the whole season.''

Wall also responded to criticism that he partied too much during the offseason.

``The summertime, I'm going to enjoy myself,'' Wall said. ``But, at the same time, as long as I'm up every morning at 6 a.m. and going to the gym at 7, it doesn't matter to me. Throughout the season, if I was doing it, it would be a lot different.''

With Wall out, the Wizards signed point guard Jannero Pargo. Pargo said he nearly agreed to a contract with the Chicago Bulls before joining the Wizards.

``I've been in Chicago a number of different occasions and didn't really quite get the opportunities that I wanted,'' said the 33-year-old Pargo, who has spent eight seasons in the NBA, including three stints with the Bulls.

Jordan Crawford also indicated he would help pick up the scoring slack while Wall sits.

``When it's time to score, I score,'' Crawford said. ``I mean, that's how it should be. The past two years, we've probably had a total of 18 players hurt, at least since I've been here if you add it up. You go in the arena with eight players, who else is going to shoot?''

Nene said he has no timetable for returning to the court as he deals with plantar fasciitis.

``I've been doing a lot of hard stuff, resting, do nothing a couple days,'' Nene said.

Emeka Okafor, who last played Feb. 10, said his knee is ``fine.'' With Wall and Nene out, Okafor will likely have to shoulder a larger load for a team trying to reach the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.

``We look good on paper,'' Webster said. ``Let's just be honest. We have a great team on paper. But how we mesh, we'll find that out this week in training camp. So far, the chemistry in the locker room is great. We all know that good teams are built on that camaraderie that you build and how you guys fight through adversity.

``It's funny for us. We have to face that already, before the season even starts, before training camp even starts.''

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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