The NBA Playoffs are underway, and the Atlanta Hawks will travel to the Verizon Center to face off against the Washington Wizards on their home court on Saturday for Game 3. The Wizards may have to play without the reinforcement of one of its star players. Hawks vs. Wizards Game 3 can be watched online through live stream below.
The Hawks vs. Wizards series is currently tied at 1-1. While the Wizards may have the home-court advantage, Jeff Schultz of AJC Sports reported that their star player, John Wall, suffered a fractured hand and wrist in Game 2.
"The Wizards say they are consulting with doctors and specialists and don't know at this time whether Wall will play," Schultz wrote. "But if he does play, his left hand and wrist area likely would be protected with a soft cast or pad, making ball-handling and shooting problematic."
According to Schultz, Wall had suffered five non-displaced fractures in his left hand and wrist. This development could place the odds in Atlanta's favor.
"The Hawks have shifted from a 2-point underdog for Saturday's game in Washington to a 2½-to-3-point favorite (depending on the sportsbook)," Schultz wrote. "The Hawks also have moved from a slight favorite (minus-165) to win the series to not quite double their previous odds (minus-270)."
Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reported that the Wizards coach Randy Wittman thought that Wall was one of the toughest players he ever met. He is rethinking his game strategy against the Hawks in Saturday's playoff game.
"There's no timetable for something like this is the best way I can put it," Wittman said. "We got to be prepared as a team to play without him. Our guys are doing that. Knowing John, if there's a slight chance to get in, he's holding out for that. That's the type of kid he is."
Even though they have not personally examined Wall, two hand surgeons talked to Castillo on how the timetable for Wall's recovery would play out. In their opinion, even the "best-case scenario" would make it unlikely that Wall would play on Saturday.
"It's going to make a big impact on his next two weeks," David Moss of Washington Orthopedics and Sports Medicine said. "No matter if it's a bone bruise or if it's a fracture or if it's five bones that are fractured or one bone in five places, it's all going to have an impact short term over the next couple weeks."
Steven S. Shin of Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles told Castillo that hand fractures take about four to six weeks to heal completely. Any "non-displaced fractures" could become displaced, which would mean longer recovery time and surgery if necessary.
"It's going to be very painful," Shin, who serves as hand consultant for the Los Angeles Lakers, said. "If he gets hit, it's going to hurt like hell so it's going to really limit his ability to handle the ball. It's hard enough with one fracture and he's got five fractures. I mean, wow, that's a really significant injury."
However, Wizards forward Paul Pierce hoped that the rest of his team will come together and play their best against Atlanta.
"It's not going to come from one person," Pierce said. "One guy cannot fill John's role. It's going to have to be collectively, whether it's [Sessions], Garrett Temple, Will Bynum, not only from the point guard but other guys too. Hopefully these guys are motivated and feel they have the opportunity to step up."
Game 3 of the NBA Playoffs between the Wizards and Hawks will air Saturday at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT on ESPN. Although a cable subscription is required, viewers can stream the Hawks vs. Wizards game online through WatchESPN.com or through the WatchESPN app.