WASHINGTON -- Washington Wizards point guard John Wall called his upcoming absence because of a left knee injury "a minor setback." Team president Ernie Grunfeld labeled it "a bump in the road."
However it's described, Wall is expected to miss the first dozen or so games of the NBA's regular season after the Wizards announced Friday that their best player -- the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft -- was diagnosed with the early stages of a stress injury to his left knee cap.
The Wizards said the injury does not require surgery. If his rehab goes as expected, Wall will be sidelined for about two months in all, including about the first month of the regular season, which begins Oct. 30 for Washington.
Wall said he "started feeling discomfort" about a month ago, and he got an MRI exam that Grunfeld said did not show any sort of problem. But Wall still was bothered by his knee while working out and went for a second opinion.
He was examined Thursday in New York by orthopedic specialist Dr. David Altchek, and a new MRI revealed the injury.
"Just something that happens when you work out very hard, that's all I can say," Wall said.
"It's very tough for me," Wall added.
He led the Wizards by averaging 16.3 points and eight assists last season. He also topped the team with 95 steals and averaged 4.5 rebounds.
The Wizards finished 20-46 during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, the second-worst record in the league.
"The good thing about this is that we caught it when we did. It's not going to be a best-case scenario, but we also have to look at this in a positive way. ... My expectations of what John can do this year, it being his third year, is not going to change. He's just going to start a little later," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "We were lucky that we came and saw it before there was any type of fracture or anything of that nature." The Wizards open training camp Tuesday at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. They also expect to be without their second-best player, Nene, for most of training camp. He has a foot injury.
Until Wall can return to action, he said, "I'm going to try to be there and be a coach and a mentor." But he also pointed out that he wants to "make sure I don't rush back." Grunfeld, meanwhile, said he will "look around, see who's available" and would consider signing a player to help fill out the roster while Wall is sidelined.
"We have a deep roster right now, and we have a lot of players at a lot of different positions," Grunfeld said. "We have players that can pick up the slack, and it's not going to be up to one player." And, as Wittman noted: "Obviously, we're going to miss John."