|Bobcats F Gerald Wallace returns to practice following concussion|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 10 March 2008 09:09|
Wallace returned to practice Monday for the first time since being knocked unconscious by an inadvertent elbow more than two weeks ago. Wearing his signature orange headband, Wallace showed his same aggressive style during a team scrimmage. He hopes to play Wednesday at Dallas.
But after four concussions in four seasons, the 6-foot-7 small forward said he's through banging with the taller and heavier plays at the power forward spot.
``I talked with the coaching staff and I think my career at (power forward) is done,'' Wallace said. ``It takes a toll on your body, mentally and physically. This last injury, banging with the guys that are heavier than me, I think I'd just rather stick to guys my size.''
On Feb. 22, Wallace was guarding the 7-foot, 225-pound Mikki Moore when the Sacramento power forward wheeled around in the post and hit Wallace in the face.
Wallace crashed to the floor. He was still unconscious when he was taken off the court on a stretcher.
Wallace experienced some amnesia - he still doesn't remember the play - and had headaches and drowsiness for several days. After seeing a neurologist, he started doing some light shooting. He was cleared for his first full-contact practice after meeting with doctors Monday morning.
``It felt great to get back on the court with the guys and run,'' Wallace said, clearly winded after the workout. ``I went up and down, kind of scrimmaged, kind of mixed it up with the guys. It felt pretty good.''
Wallace, averaging 20.6 points per game, is on pace for the highest-scoring season of his career, which took off after Charlotte took the Sacramento benchwarmer in the 2004 expansion draft. The Bobcats gave him a six-year, $57 million contract last summer.
But due to injuries last year and lineup tweaking by rookie coach Sam Vincent this season, Wallace has played a large amount at power forward. His quickness presents matchup problems for bigger players, but at 220 pounds, he routinely gives up 50 pounds or more on the defensive end.
``It was fun playing (power forward), but I'd rather be out on the wing,'' Wallace said.
Working with the second team Monday, Wallace insists he's not nervous about returning despite long-term concerns about athletes who have sustained multiple concussions.
``Once I get there on the court I don't play with any tentativeness,'' Wallace said. ``I go out there and play aggressive, full speed at all times.''
But the player nicknamed ``Crash'' says it's time to end his run at power forward. Vincent wasn't at Monday's practice due to illness, but has acknowledged holding discussions about keeping Wallace at small forward.