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John Wall gets cut above his eye; Flip Saunders yet to settle on a starting five against Dallas

John Wall emerged from practice on the eve of his preseason debut against the Dallas Mavericks with a cut on his right eyelid that looked as if he had just spent two hours sparring instead of preparing for a basketball game. He didn't need stitches, as Coach Flip Saunders said the team trainers just "glued it up."


C'mon, Dray. I hope you didn't mess up my court vision. (AP Photo)

It took a week, but Wall finally had his welcome to the NBA moment -- and it came in the form of an Andray Blatche elbow as the two chased down a loose ball. "Just let him know what he's going to get a taste for," Blatche said afterward. "Hopefully, he'll wipe it off and do the job he does."

Wall didn't sound too upset. "It was nothing major. You're going to take nicks and bruises over the season," he said. "You just got to keep fighting."

And the Wizards will be fighting on Tuesday in Dallas with the full complement of players, as Saunders, his staff and President Ernie Grunfeld held off on making any roster cuts before seeing them in real-game situations.

"We felt the guys we had, wanted to give them an opportunity," Saunders said. "We have some guys who are banged up. We don't want to be left, as far as our ability to practice or play or have players out of position."

Gilbert Arenas and Kirk Hinrich both returned to practice on Monday after dealing with recent injuries. Arenas missed three of the past four practices and the Sunday scrimmage, with a sprained right ankle sidelining him the past two days. Arenas's right ankle was taped on Monday, but he didn't have to sit out any of the drills. "Gilbert went full go," Saunders said. "Looked good. Worked hard."

But Saunders was unwilling to commit to the group that he plans to start, including Arenas. "Don't know. Don't really know. He's been off a couple of days. He played today. We'll have to wait and see how he feels tomorrow," Saunders said about Arenas. "We switched [the starting lineups] up. We haven't gone one time with what I would say is a potential lineup. Between now and tomorrow I have to figure out something."

Hinrich said he was okay after suffering a bruised right shoulder, but Saunders said he wasn't sure how he would use him throughout the preseason. "With Kirk, we know what he can do. We're not going to waste him too much in the preseason. Have to wait and see."

Although Saunders is bringing the whole team, he wasn't certain that he would use every player. But he said the team would have to give several players -- including Wall, JaVale McGee and Hilton Armstrong -- considerable playing time to see what they can do.

"We're really, have some important things to evaluate. Our upfront people, who's going to be there? We still got a couple of spots to fill on our team," Saunders said. "It will be more important for us to continue to play hard, work on execution, get those guys minutes, and it's going to be important for some people who feel you have to win every game.

"We need to establish ourselves as a team that's going to compete. If we can do that, we'll be in games, have a chance to win games. We've got to facilitate the development of our younger players."

Arenas, Blatche, McGee and Nick Young will have somewhat of a reunion in Dallas with former teammates Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson. But Wall said he was excited about getting his first game against a future Hall of Fame point guard in Jason Kidd.

"It's great," he said. "Every night, you're going to play against somebody talented, like I said before. The point guards in this league are very talented nowadays. Jason Kidd, he's old, but he's still a veteran in this game. he knows the tricks of the trade, still knows how to set his teammates up and how to make plays. Just imagine, when he was younger, he was one of the top point guards and fast."

Wall added that he would like to have Arenas share some time with him in the backcourt. "I hope he can play," Wall said. "That would great for us, to see where our chemistry is. That's what the preseason is for, get that chemistry down with your teammates and see how y'all play together and know where to get people the ball in certain areas. I think we can play good together. He's a player that can make shots and also attack the basket at the same time."

As for Wall's "glued up" eye, Saunders said, "It was a very competitive practice."

By Michael Lee  | October 4, 2010; 3:46 PM ET
Categories:  Andray Blatche, Flip Saunders, Gilbert Arenas, John Wall, Kirk Hinrich  
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Next: Flip Saunders: 'We might start four guards'

Comments

FIRST!!!
Get your popcorn ready!

Posted by: Gooddad | October 4, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

So much for the speculation about Areas injury. Flip Saunders said that it was the ankle that was swollen but people wanted to believe different. It amazes me how people can standoff in the distance and psychanalyze a person. Gilbert is paid to play basketball so judge him on his performance on the court and stop nitpicking about everything else. If you are looking for choir boys go to church on sundays.

Posted by: spades72 | October 4, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

So we have 7 away and 2 home games in the preseason, including a here-and-there with Atlanta, and back-to-backs at Cleveland and Chicago. You never know who will play in these first 3 or 4 contests, but by Milwaukee on the 14th of October, we should be looking at our regular rotation coming out of the gate.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 4, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Calling Kidd old and formerly a top guard? Young man is not afraid to say what he thinks!

On Gil:

"Every time he [Arenas] gets in a drill and [he's] gotta be a point guard, he's like, he doesn't want to do it, he wants to be a two guard," Wall says. "It makes it a little easier. He knows that I'm looking to find him, and at the very same time, I'm trying to do as much as I can to help the team win. So whether it's finding him or finding one of the big men, he's cool with it."

On KH:

"He's not as fast as most of us," Wall said of Hinrich. "He's not as athletic. But he's a smart player. He knows the situations, and he's great on defense. He knows how to get through the pick and rolls. He knows the help side."

Posted by: divi3 | October 4, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

".."Just let him know what he's going to get a taste for," Blatche said afterward. "Hopefully, he'll wipe it off and do the job he does."." Michael Lee (above)

Just another example of how you consistently take thing out of context. Did Blatche say that? Sure he did, but he said it with a big smile on his face and in the context of a joke. You had to write that as though Blatche had something in for Wall when nothing could be further from the truth. Your job is to
REPORT(er), not twist things to create situations. Of course, I'm not surprised by anyting that you write about the Wizards.

Posted by: getabigboyoffense | October 4, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

The team trainers just glued it up.

Ouch!

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 4, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

"You had to write that as though Blatche had something in for Wall when nothing could be further from the truth. Your job is to
REPORT(er), not twist things to create situations. posted by getabigboyoffense"

I didn't read it that way at all. Maybe Mike Lee didn't mean it that way. But we've got some hypersensitive fans here on the blog.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 4, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Mike - I think most people understood Andray's comments as gentle-ribbing, no-worries here.

Posted by: closg | October 4, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Just let him know what he's going to get a taste for," Blatche said afterward. "Hopefully, he'll wipe it off and do the job he does."." Michael Lee (above)

Just another example of how you consistently take thing out of context. Did Blatche say that? Sure he did, but he said it with a big smile on his face and in the context of a joke. You had to write that as though Blatche had something in for Wall when nothing could be further from the truth. Your job is to
REPORT(er), not twist things to create situations. Of course, I'm not surprised by anyting that you write about the Wizards.

Posted by: getabigboyoffense | October 4, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Thank you
I respect your comment.

Posted by: gtefferra | October 4, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Maybe hibachi will teach JWOWW to get a 2nd opinion on that eye tip.

Posted by: prescrunk | October 4, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

John Wall's eye and AB's elbow shouldn't be in the same zip code.

Posted by: djnnnou | October 4, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

"So much for the speculation about Areas injury. Flip Saunders said that it was the ankle that was swollen but people wanted to believe different. It amazes me how people can standoff in the distance and psychanalyze a person. Gilbert is paid to play basketball so judge him on his performance on the court and stop nitpicking about everything else. If you are looking for choir boys go to church on sundays.

Posted by: spades72 | October 4, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse "

Please. If Gilby was as simple as just another NBA player, he wouldn't be receiving the scrutiny that he has and will continue to receive. The problem is that this is a self created monster. All that Gilby is reaping is based on what he sowed.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 4, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm certainly looking forward to this upcoming season. I see JWow taking over the team and getting nice looks for all the big men. I think he'll hit a brick wall after about 30-35 games, and it'll be up to Hinrich to step up and carry on as the PG. I just hope Flip Flop doesn't look to Yi or AB to play center. It might be painful to watch when teams slow down the tempo and pound it inside.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 4, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate the job Michael Lee does, but I get the feeling that he does not care much for Gilbert Arenas. Much of his reporting on Arenas seems to have a negative slant to it, IMHO.

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | October 5, 2010 12:49 AM | Report abuse

The negativity about Arenas is on his head.It is so sad that he has no body around him to tell him how to act the right way.This negative image is going to back fire on his performance if at all he is healthy enough to push it for 82 games.He need to keep it simple and take a low profile.

Posted by: gtefferra | October 5, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

I know, cause Gilbert is the most despicable human being that ever walked this earth. He has the worst contract ever, and his sins should not be forgiven.

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 5, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

I have a feeling Gil/KH wont play THAT much tonight, so hopefully we get a bunch of NY vs CB to go along with the BTH vs JM/AB match-ups. Should be fun, especially BTH/JM.

Posted by: divi3 | October 5, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

I appreciate the job Michael Lee does, but I get the feeling that he does not care much for Gilbert Arenas. Much of his reporting on Arenas seems to have a negative slant to it, IMHO.

Posted by: bazookajoe1 | October 5, 2010 12:49 AM | Report abuse

I quite frankly think that Mike Lee's basketball analysis is simplistic and soap operish. His last posts slyly imtimates that there is some growing turmoil surrounding Arenas and his injury. Moreover, can we let John Wall accomplish something during the regular season before we annoint him as the savior to this franchise. Furthermore the Cleveland/LeBron James experiment clearly proves that a one-man team can not win a championship (hell even Kobe Bryant sans Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum could not win a championship).

What Boston (old and new), San Antonio, LA (old and new), Chicago, Detroit all proved is that you have to have 3-4 All Star caliber players to win a championship. And a lot of players on these teams were not good locker room guys (a good number of these teams had buttholes that were not the best sportsman).

Posted by: NewManagement | October 5, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"I quite frankly think that Mike Lee's basketball analysis is simplistic and soap operish. His last posts slyly imtimates that there is some growing turmoil surrounding Arenas and his injury. Moreover, can we let John Wall accomplish something during the regular season before we annoint him as the savior to this franchise. Furthermore the Cleveland/LeBron James experiment clearly proves that a one-man team can not win a championship (hell even Kobe Bryant sans Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum could not win a championship)."

Talk about simplistic -- that's the above.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 5, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"On KH:"He's not as fast as most of us," Wall said of Hinrich. "He's not as athletic. But he's a smart player. He knows the situations, and he's great on defense. He knows how to get through the pick and rolls. He knows the help side."

All true. Which makes you wonder why a really good athlete like Josh Howard can master the art of defense while a really good athlete like Nick Young hasn't yet.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 5, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

All true. Which makes you wonder why a really good athlete like Josh Howard can master the art of defense while a really good athlete like Nick Young hasn't yet.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 5, 2010 10:22 AM

Maybe because up until the blow-up, for years all the talk from players and coaches about defense was 90% lipservice. When your team leaders (Gil/AJ) are amongst the most lackadaisical defenders in the league, the proof is in the pudding.

(in his defense, AJ put forth more effort than Gil on D- but still)

Posted by: divi3 | October 5, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse


All true. Which makes you wonder why a really good athlete like Josh Howard can master the art of defense while a really good athlete like Nick Young hasn't yet.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 5, 2010 10:22 AM

Same for Arenas, for that matter.

Posted by: and_1 | October 5, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

if Gil or NY had been drafted by Pops....they'd either be solid/great defenders or no longer with the Spurs.

Not fully absolving our bad defenders or anything...just sayin organizational philosophy is a factor as well

Posted by: divi3 | October 5, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

but what i actually love about those quotes is that John Wall, all of 20yrs old, doesnt think twice about giving opinions on 1)surefire HOFer in Kidd 2)$20mill Gil and 3)savvy vet CaptKirk

as Aldridge said, this kid is a leader and alpha-dog in his own right. Bodes well

Posted by: divi3 | October 5, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

IDK what it is but seeing the Wall highlights the last 3 or 4 days are getting me more confident about the season. Not so much about the moves he's been doing but just the way he's pushing the rock. Im going to love to see us run, get some transition stuff, and just be a much more exciting team.

This could be a bit of a crazy night when I really start to think about it. We could see Wood matched up alot with McGee and even some with Dray. We could see Gil matched up alot with Caron & Deshawn. Those would be some fun matchups to see.

Posted by: dlts2041 | October 5, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

@DC_MAN88

Let's face it, there is nothing Gilbert can do to be in your good graces. You don't even have the basic respect to address the man by his given name. I hope you can apply the same standards to yourself that you criticize him of not having. And judging from many of your posts you are far from being a class act.

Posted by: spades72 | October 5, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"All true. Which makes you wonder why a really good athlete like Josh Howard can master the art of defense while a really good athlete like Nick Young hasn't yet."

I guess he got his defensive "abilities" from the so-called Big 3. He just follow/imitate the leaders of the team. I'm pretty sure BJ, Steve Kerr and the others Bulls have received tough talk from MJ and Scottie when they missed defensive assignments.

Posted by: Dave381 | October 5, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"I guess he got his defensive "abilities" from the so-called Big 3. He just follow/imitate the leaders of the team."

Three of the regulars from last season -- Haywood, Butler, and Stephenson -- were pretty dedicated defenders. How come he didn't imitate them?

Posted by: Samson151 | October 5, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

How come he didn't imitate them?

Who were the faces of the franchise?

Posted by: Dave381 | October 5, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

For the stats lover, this year's Basketball Prospectus is out, downloadable as a PDF for $10. You can check out a couple sample chapters (Bulls and Warriors) before buying.

http://www.basketballprospectus.com/products/pbp2010/

Posted by: Samson151 | October 5, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Stop making excuses. Nick doesn't play defense because he doesn't. He didn't do it in college and he doesn't do it here.

You really wanna blame that on the Big 3 too? That's stupid.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 5, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I see JWow taking over the team and getting nice looks for all the big men. I think he'll hit a brick wall after about 30-35 games, and it'll be up to Hinrich to step up and carry on as the PG. I just hope Flip Flop doesn't look to Yi or AB to play center. It might be painful to watch when teams slow down the tempo and pound it inside.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 4, 2010 10:53 PM

How long 'til EG hits a brick wall? 19 wins? 26?

Posted by: prescrunk | October 5, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

For the stats lover, this year's Basketball Prospectus is out, downloadable as a PDF for $10. You can check out a couple sample chapters (Bulls and Warriors) before buying.
http://www.basketballprospectus.com/products/pbp2010/
Posted by: Samson151 | October 5, 2010 12:08 PM |

I haven't read it, but I understand that they pick us to be among the worst teams according to a tweet from Mike Prada - True?

Posted by: closg | October 5, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"Stop making excuses. Nick doesn't play defense because he doesn't. He didn't do it in college and he doesn't do it here.

You really wanna blame that on the Big 3 too? That's stupid."

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 5, 2010 12:14 PM |

But oh so predictable. Whenever a player succeeds it's all on him. Whenever he fails, it's someone else's fault.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 5, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Moreover, can we let John Wall accomplish something during the regular season before we annoint him as the savior to this franchise.
Posted by: NewManagement | October 5, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

NO.

Posted by: Blurred | October 5, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"I haven't read it, but I understand that they pick us to be among the worst teams according to a tweet from Mike Prada - True?
Posted by: closg"

LOL I'm afraid so. Well, we'll have lots of incentive to prove them wrong.

The odds say that whenever a team undergoes a lot of turnover -- and the Wiz have --- they can be expected to struggle.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 5, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"Who were the faces of the franchise?
Posted by: Dave381"

LOL you mean you can only imitate the 'faces of the franchise'? If I were Nick, I'd try to do whatever was necessary to secure minutes on the court.

Playing outstanding defense on the other team's best scorer is definitely one way to get on the floor.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 5, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I think most clubs will save minutes for a so-called 'shutdown defender' if one is available. Since most of the league's big scorers play the 2 or 3 position (sometimes the 4), that's where the opportunity usually is. If Josh Howard were healthy, he'd be a legit asset to any team for just that reason. Of course they're not really shutting down a scorer like Kobe or James -- just containing them and in some cases, keeping them from taking over.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 5, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Even when we had a so-called shutdown defender in DeShawn, we were forced to live with him being green-lit to the tune of endless ill-advised 3s.

The team has been orientated toward offense for years and years, defense has been secondary.

And my posts were pretty clear in not absolving NY or Gil, the point is franchise was trying to be Suns East. It's not like we had Avery Johnson in here preaching defense but no one would listen.

Posted by: divi3 | October 5, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

divi- I usually agree with you, but you seem to forget that for Deshawn's first two years here...his only uninjured seasons...he shot over .400 one year and nearly .400 the other.

The reason he had a green light was that he earned it through his performance.

Posted by: Blurred | October 5, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Nick Young was voted # 32 out off 52 best shooting guard; in the league, by the bleacher report. he was the only one that made the list from the wizards team,and he said that the coach's are the blame for massing up young game, and that nick young need to get the hell out of washington ASAP. And I agree with the writer,but on D. they all suck, and nick young is just as good as they are, or better ask wade, and egodolla. guy from 76er, and if he was a starter,young will be in the top 10, so hate on nick young.

Posted by: maejude | October 5, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"If I were Nick, I'd try to do whatever was necessary to secure minutes on the court."

Thats the thing, the influence of his big brothers are so great that he concentrated only on his O and failed to exert effort on the other side of the court. Not defending him just my perception. I brought up MJ's Bulls as an example in which NY will have to play D or else.....


Posted by: Dave381 | October 5, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Thats the thing, the influence of his big brothers are so great that he concentrated only on his O and failed to exert effort on the other side of the court. Not defending him just my perception. I brought up MJ's Bulls as an example in which NY will have to play D or else.....


Posted by: Dave381 | October 5, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

That's stupid.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 5, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Thats the thing, the influence of his big brothers are so great that he concentrated only on his O and failed to exert effort on the other side of the court. Not defending him just my perception. I brought up MJ's Bulls as an example in which NY will have to play D or else.....


Posted by: Dave381 | October 5, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

That's stupid.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | October 5, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

i hope you were trying to say that NY's older counterparts on the team who logged big minutes, but played little to "no" defense contributed to his mindset. This mindset being that if you can produce big numbers offensively (GA,AJ, even CB to a degree) you don't have to worry bout "earning your minutes on the defensive end. Whereas teams like MJ's Bulls required everyone on the roster to buy in to the system and bring it on both ends. Of course it's easy to establish that type of culture when the best player to ever lace'em up and the second best player on the squad are making all-defensive teams year in and year out.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | October 5, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

if he was actually talkin bout big brothers then yeah that was kinda stupid

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | October 5, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

"Even when we had a so-called shutdown defender in DeShawn,"

Oh gosh, Stevenson isn't a shutdown guy in the Bowen-Battier-Michael Cooper class. He's more Hinrich's level. He does work at perimeter defense, which has been a necessity when you're playing next to someone like Gil, and that's why coaches put him on the court. He usually shoots his way to the bench, of course.

A player like Nick Young could imitate somebody like Josh Howard, a scorer who made himself good enough to be mentioned in the same breath as Battier and Bowen.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 5, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"Nick Young was voted # 32 out off 52 best shooting guard; in the league, by the bleacher report. he was the only one that made the list from the wizards team,and he said that the coach's are the blame for massing up young game, and that nick young need to get the hell out of washington ASAP. And I agree with the writer,but on D. they all suck, and nick young is just as good as they are, or better ask wade, and egodolla. guy from 76er, and if he was a starter,young will be in the top 10, so hate on nick young.Posted by: maejude"

I think I need a translator.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 5, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

"Whereas teams like MJ's Bulls required everyone on the roster to buy in to the system and bring it on both ends."

Might be a bit of revisionist history here. According to Phil Jackson, Jordan didn't buy into the system for quite a while. Like a lot of great players, he lacked patience with the scheme and wanted to take over games on his own (sound familiar, LeBron?) He did have solid fundamentals, thanks to UNC, but defense wasn't a particular concern until later in his career. And Pippen for several seasons was considered a talented birdbrain, the sort of guy who makes the critical error in the last minute of play.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 5, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Phil was just selling books. No one would buy a leaflet entitled "Give the ball to Michael."

Posted by: divi3 | October 5, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

If Nick wanted to play defense, he would. Plain and simple. It has nothing to do with anybody else. If that was the case, Wall wouldn't play defense or DeShawn wouldn't have either.

Posted by: G-Man11 | October 5, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

"Phil was just selling books. No one would buy a leaflet entitled "Give the ball to Michael."Posted by: divi3

LOL reading minds again.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 5, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

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