After being listed day-to-day, Bradley Beal finally is back on the floor for the Wizards –- two weeks later.
Beal decided at the last minute that his left ankle was well enough to play vs. the Phoenix Suns in a 127-105 victory on Saturday, and his appearance was the icing on the cake as Martell Webster scored a career-high 34 points and made 7 of 10 three-pointers.
Beal entered the game off the bench with 4:17 left in the first quarter. A little bit more than one minute later, his second shot, a three-pointer, gave the Wizards a 25-21 lead. Coach Randy Wittman said it was solely Beal’s decision to play, but he monitored his minutes.
“I got mad when Witt took me out. I already knew that was going to happen. It was for my own benefit,” said Beal, who led the reserves by scoring 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting and six rebounds in 21 minutes. “I really played to see how I’m going to feel (Sunday) and see how well my body can hold up and see if I can play more minutes.”
The Wizards were in a difficult spot because they were without backup point guard A.J. Price (groin) for the third game in a row and their best defender and valuable scorer in forward Trevor Ariza (sore left knee). Backup forward Chris Singleton missed the game because of a death in the family but is expected to rejoin his teammates when they begin a four-game road trip by play at the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).
“Ultimately it’s up to the player,” said Wittman, who maintained injuries to teammates did not impact the decision to play Beal after he missed six games. “I don’t ever want to put a player out there who’s not ready to go, who doesn't want to go. It was good though. I didn't see any ill-effects.”
It wasn't all smooth sailing for Beal. He had some uneven moments with the ankle.
“There was a few times where I felt like it just stopped on me,” Beal said. “I really couldn't do anything about it. Other than that I really didn't have too many problems. I was able to move, cut, I chased guys off screens as well. I just wanted to get out and see how it felt and it felt pretty good. Hopefully I’ll be able play more on Monday.”
Without Price and Beal to help handle the ball to spell Wall, Garrett Temple has had to play increased minutes. Temple registered 45 in a 96-87 win vs. the New Orleans Hornets and 41 in a 106-93 win vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. He played 36 Saturday.
“Me and John have played a lot of minutes,” said Temple, who gave a big sigh of relief when asked what his response was to Beal suiting up. “When he hit that first three, I knew he was back. Almost back to his old self. It’s going to take a little time for him to get back to game shape. He told me on the bench how he was a little tired. We really need his scoring, his play-making ability.”