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ATLANTA (AP) — Washington Wizards star John Wall was surprisingly on the inactive list for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night because of a left hand injury.
Wall injured the hand when bracing himself as he fell along the baseline in the series opener on Sunday. He finished the game, scoring 18 points, dishing out 13 assists and playing almost 39 minutes as the Wizards upset the top-seeded Hawks 104-98.
While he didn't do any work at practice Monday, there was no indication the point guard wouldn't play in Game 2. During his pregame availability, just 90 minutes tipoff, coach Randy Wittman said everyone was available and he had not considered sitting out Wall.
"The players decide that, how they're feeling, the doctors and all that kind of thing," Wittman said.
Ramon Sessions took over at the point for the Wizards, who were trying to go up 2-0 on the top-seeded Hawks without a dynamic player who led the team in scoring (17.6) and assists (10.0) during the regular season.
Then again, they could take inspiration from the Los Angeles Clippers, who knocked off Houston in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals without point guard Chris Paul.
Wall initially thought he had broken his wrist, having had the same injury before his sophomore year of high school. But X-rays were negative, the hand was taped, and Wall seemed confident that he wouldn't miss any playing time.
"I'm all right. My hand hurts. Real painful. Swollen," he said Monday. "We'll get the swelling down before tomorrow's game."
By sitting out, Wall will have nearly a week to recover. The teams were off the next three days, with Game 3 set for Saturday in Washington.
Also, the Wizards were more likely inclined to play it safe since they already seized home-court advantage from the Hawks.
AP freelance writer Amy Jinkner-Lloyd contributed to this report.
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