Rockets: What’s going on with John Wall?

John Wall #1 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
John Wall #1 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

With John Wall having missed each of the last four games for the Houston Rockets and no clear timetable for a return, questions remain about what exactly has caused Wall to miss so much time.

When the Houston Rockets traded Russell Westbrook for John Wall, many wondered whether Wall would be able to stay healthy and was finally past his injury woes. Wall had been out for two years due to a myriad of injuries, so these concerns were valid.

The 2020-21 version of Wall has looked good when he’s been on the floor, as he’s posted averages of 18.6 points, 5.1 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per contest, while posting career bests in field goal percentage and true shooting percentage. Wall has also played stellar defense when he’s been healthy, proving that he’s back to his former self.

However, the injury bug has come back to haunt Wall, as he’s missed each of the Rockets’ last four games. The official update that’s been given by the Rockets has simply been that Wall is out due to leg soreness.

But with no official return date in sight and Wall missing game after game, many believe it’s something that’s much more significant than just leg soreness.

What’s causing John Wall to miss so many games for the Houston Rockets?

A Rockets fan and physical therapist, who goes by the Twitter handle @OkeezieSportsPT (be sure to follow him if you aren’t already), gave a much more through description of what’s going on with Wall and why he’s been missing so many games.

“From what I can tell, Wall has pain around his knee cap. It’s either knee cap pain or tendinitis. This is truly day-to-day and happened, in this case, because he was playing too many minutes.

When you aren’t in shape after a long layoff you put excess strain on tendons and bones.

Silas was playing him 37-40 minutes & the way Wall plays, it was too many. This type of issue is a warning sign the load is too high.

Silas said “it just popped up”. I know exactly what that means in regards to the knee. It’s basically an overuse situation and a warning before something worse happens.

He needs to get past this and they need to monitor his minutes better. If you ignore this warning sign and try to play through it, you could be at risk for another Achilles or an ACL tear. They are doing the right thing.”

Okeezie elaborated on the load and distribution of minutes that Wall has received this season, citing Wall’s lengthy absence heading into the season as reason to reduce his minutes, as he played 36 minutes or more in three of his first four games this season.

“If he wasn’t coming off of a two-year absence from an Achilles injury he might be playing through it. But he needs the rest and rehab.

Wall needs to play 28 to 32 minutes. Use Mason Jones. Use Sterling Brown. Use Ben McLemore. Use Victor Oladipo. When everyone is back there is depth to get Wall’s minutes down.”

There’s been concern from several within the Houston Rockets’ fanbase that Wall has possibly suffered a significant injury that simply hasn’t been fully disclosed, but Okeezie’s explanation should quell those concerns, as he stated that Wall’s condition is truly day-to-day and is more of a preventative measure of what could happen long-term if his workload isn’t spread out more.

The good thing is the latter point seems to be one that could be easily corrected moving forward, as the Rockets have guard depth that they haven’t always had in the past. In addition, Rockets coach Stephen Silas has proven that he’s comfortable with playing many of the younger players and maximizing the Rockets’ roster depth, unlike his predecessor Mike D’Antoni.

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Hopefully for Wall and the Rockets, he’ll be able to return soon, as the Rockets have gone 1-4 with him out of the lineup.