Wizards PG John Wall to Return from Knee Injury on Saturday Against Hawks

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 22: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards looks on during the closing moments of Wizards 115-107 loss to the Sacramento Kings at Verizon Center on February 22, 2012 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Washington Wizards don't have to miss John Wall any longer.

According to Craig Stouffer of the Washington Examiner, Wall is returning to Randy Wittman's lineup:

After three consecutive days of intense practice, the Wizards star point guard’s third season in the NBA can finally begin on Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks.

“It’s the biggest feeling,” Wall said after practice on Friday. “You know I haven’t played in so long, so I’m going to be anxious and super-excited, so I’ll probably get tired in probably 30 seconds, because I haven’t played in so long. But it’s exciting to be out there with my teammates, have fun and play with the team I wanted to play with all season.”

Wall has missed the entire season so far due to a knee injury that bothered him in the offseason.

Saying that the Wizards struggled without their star point guard would be an understatement. Washington has been a middle-of-the-road defensive team and an above-average rebounding team, but it simply hasn't been able to score the basketball.

Much of that has had to do with Wall's absence from the lineup. He's nowhere near a polished player, but he's still the straw that stirs the drink for this squad. His athleticism makes the offense better, and he allows the team to play at the tempo that fits it best.

Without him, Jordan Crawford has been running the point. He's a talented scorer, but he's a natural shooting guard. He's turnover prone, and he doesn't play with a facilitator's mindset.

Wall's return will allow Crawford to return to his regular position and give the backcourt more depth overall. Bradley Beal has been fine as a rookie, but he could use a quality option behind him in the rotation.

Last season, Wall averaged 16.3 points and eight assists per game. He also used his lanky frame to haul down 4.5 rebounds per night. Although he turned the ball over nearly four times per game and struggled with his jumper, he is still one of the league's up-and-coming stars.

Washington isn't going to transform into a playoff contender with Wall back running the point, but it should become more tolerable to watch.

He's an exciting player with devastating open-court ability, and it will be a relief for Wizards fans to see him back on the floor.