Beal taking it slow as he works to come back
Now that Bradley Beal took part in some of the Wizards' practice Wednesday at Verizon Center, what next? If his right leg isn't sore, he'll probably increase his activities but it appears unlikely that he'll be in their back-to-back set this weekend.
Beal developed a second stress reaction in the his fibula, the small, non-weight bearing bone in his lower leg. He had a similar injury in April of his rookie season, at a lower spot on the bone. The news that Kevin Ware of Louisville, who had a frightening injury in the NCAA tournament when he snapped his leg and the severed bone broke the skin, had stress fractures that led to it has given Beal pause.
"I was on the verge of that last year. That's what's kind of scary, the fact that I kept playing and I was in so much pain," said Beal, whose injury was initially called a stress "reaction" by the team. "I had a crack in my bone and the fact that my leg could've ended up looking like Kev's leg -- big scare factor. It happened again this year but we caught it earlier. It wasn't an actual fracture. That was a big plus, being able to catch it early, prevent it from happening ever again. Those are always scary moments when you see it happen to other people and the stories that they have."
The Wizards (9-11) play at the Atlanta Hawks on Friday (CSN+, 7:30 p.m. ET). They play the Los Angeles Clippers at home Saturday (CSN, 7).
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"I did a lot of half-court stuff today. The doc and my trainers don't want me to go full court, or up and down as much. I got into some drills that were pretty live in the half-court," Beal said. "Just getting used to cutting, curling, just doing little drills like that. Competing a little bit, getting my wind back. it was great to be able to do that."
He's getting evaluated each day. It's a process that he believes will continue throughout the season, and even into the off-season.
"It's definitely daily. My body can change in a matter of seconds in terms of my muscles activating and not activating which causes me to have injuries in places I shouldn't have injuries. They're staying on top of it," Beal said. "They're doing a great job making sure I work out every day doing my corrective exercises and everything I need to do. I'm going to continue to do it even if I'm 110 percent. With an injury like this that can possibly end your career, you have to be cautious. ... We still have 60-plus game left. We have a lot of time. I'm not really pressed to be able to come back, although I want to.
"It's tedious, but it's my body. I have to protect it. If that's what I have to do, I've got to suck it up and I have to do it. ... Either I want to play 10-plus years or I want to play two. Going into the off-season, I probably will have to continue to do it."
Coach Randy Wittman anticipates Beal's return, provided there are no setbacks, "probably after this weekend. Probably definitely with Brad we're going to make sure we get through today, tomorrow, hard shootaround, hard workout before the game in Atlanta. … We also want to be slow in the process to make sure we're doing it the right way, obviously, because of what has happened in the past."