John Wall scores 22 in Houston Rockets debut following 2-year injury layoff

HOUSTON, TX – DECEMBER 31: John Wall #1 of the Rockets handles the ball during the game against the on December 31, 2020 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images)

 had problems sleeping the night before, as his heart and mind raced in anticipation of his  Rockets debut, a comeback from a two-year injury layoff that was delayed another week by an -mandated quarantine because of COVID-19 protocols.

It had been 735 days, as Wall precisely pointed out after the Rockets’ 122-119 win over the  on Thursday night in Houston, since he had last played in an game that counted. He had since undergone surgery to remove the bone spurs in his left heel that had bothered him for years, then another operation to repair the Achilles tendon he tore while recovering from that operation, then been traded from the  along with a protected first-round pick for Russell Westbrook.

“It was great, man, just to get out there and have fun,” Wall said after his 22-point, 6-rebound, 9-assist performance in the win. “When I get between those four lines and once the ball touches my hands after the jump ball, I was fine. I was happy to be able to compete with some of the best guys in this league and [demonstrate] that I have the ability to be one of the best point guards in this league.”

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