Wizards lose Bradley Beal for 2 weeks, probably more

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Bradley Beal knew something was wrong with his right leg after the Wizards’ last game, a victory vs. the New York Knicks. He’d played four games in five days. His jump shot had fallen flat because the lift wasn’t the same.

Turns out, he has the same stress injury to the same leg but in a different location, the Wizards revealed before Tuesday’s game vs. the Los Angeles Lakers at Verizon Center (CSN, 7 p.m. ET). President Ernie Grunfeld said the team was being “cautious and pro-active” in putting Beal on the shelf. 

“It’s been lingering for about a week. I thought it was calf soreness for a while. Then it kind of escalated a little bit more. It felt like it felt the same way, similar to what it did last year, as far as the doctors touching it, pushing it. I ended up getting the MRI yesterday. It was definitely some stress reaction. It’s not the same injury as last year. It’s not a re-injury or anything like that.”

It means that Beal will be out for the next two weeks and then he’ll be re-evaluated by doctors. Realistically, he’ll be on the shelf longer than that.

Garrett Temple or Martell Webster are the likely choices to replace him in the starting lineup. 

Beal’s current stress injury is in the proximal, or upper, right fibula. The one that ended his rookie season prematurely in April was to the lower part of the same small bone, his distal right. 

“This is the very early stages of it and we just want to make sure it doesn’t turn into anything serious,” said Grunfeld, who was OK with Beal playing an NBA-high 40.2 minutes this season. “He’d been playing great. He hadn’t shown any signs of favoring it or anything like that. He’d been playing terrific basketball. … He began complaining about it, and as soon as he did we had it checked out. We want to be pro-active with this and then be very cautious with it.”

Beal missed the last eight games of last season, all of Las Vegas summer league and didn’t do contact drills at USA Basketball mini-camp in July. The Wizards, who initially said he would be on the shelf 6-8 weeks which would’ve been about May 20, didn’t clear him for full contact until August. 

In 13 games for the Wizards (5-8) this season, Beal had averages of 20.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists.

“The good thing is we caught it early,” Beal said. “I’m pretty sure I could probably play. I can probably duke it out. I did that last year and it didn’t work out too well so I’m just going to play it smart this year, take care of it and get rid of it early. Hopefully it’ll be gone once and for all.”

Beal played through ankle sprains last season, including a high right ankle sprain that never caused him to miss a game. He did miss time playing with a left ankle sprain. The team announced he’d be out of the balance of the season with a stress injury to his right leg, CSN Washington first confirmed it came from playing through the high ankle sprain. 

“It was an executive decision, unanimously really, as everybody agreed upon the same thing. It was the smartest thing to do,” Beal said. “We didn’t want to push it and aggravate it even more. If you aggravate it, it’s going to escalate and escalate and I’ll be in even more pain than I can bear. I’ll definitely be back soon.”

The Wizards were on the upswing after seeing top rookie draft pick Otto Porter practice for the first time Monday as did Chris Singleton and Trevor Ariza, who had missed the last five games with a right hamstring strain. Now this. 

“They know its my career, my future, and they know that if I could (play) I would,” Beal said of the response from his teammates. 

Unlike the last injury that required more rehabilitation, Beal anticipates simply resting to heal. 

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