Wall flashes 'All-Star mode' in long-awaited return

11:44 PM ET

John Wall had problems sleeping the night before, as his heart and mind raced in anticipation of his Houston Rockets debut, a comeback from a two-year injury layoff that was delayed another week by an NBA-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 Sacramento Kings on Thursday night in Houston, since he had last played in an NBA 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 Washington Wizards 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

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