When John Wall discovered last Thursday that the soreness in his left knee was the early stages of a stress injury that would keep him sidelined for approximately eight weeks, he walked out of orthopedic specialist David Altchek's office in New York and took a few minutes to be alone, dejected, and process it all. He sat silently on the ride back to Washington, shutting off his cellphones, so that he wouldn't have to share his anger and disappointment.

Wall had invested significant time and effort in preparing for his third season, one that he believes will define his career in the NBA. He hired a noted trainer and new strength and conditioning coach. He looked forward to getting on the floor with Nene, developing chemistry with first-round draft pick Bradley Beal and several of the other new pieces, and getting the Washington Wizards back on the path toward respectability. Suddenly, that was all delayed.