Beal vows smarter approach to playing hurt

Beal vows smarter approach to playing hurt
September 23, 2013, 8:45 am
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High school honors Wizards guard Bradley Beal

With training camp less than a week away, and the Wizards missing Emeka Okafor and Chris Singleton because of injuries, rising second-year player Bradley Beal has some good advice: Be patient.

He cracks a smile when he says it, but his rookie season with the Wizards was ended prematurely as a result of him playing through sprains to both ankles. 

It caused a stress reaction in his lower right leg that kept him from basketball-related activities for most of the off-season, including Las Vegas summer league tournament and competing at the USA Basketball mini-camp.

"Hopefully I can learn my lesson, stop being hard-headed and just sit down when I need to sit down," said Beal, 20, who missed 26 games. "And listen to older guys, know my body and hopefully this year I'll be injury-free.

"I'll definitely tell them (to be patient), especially Chris with his foot."

The initial projection was Beal would be out for six weeks which would've meant he could start training by about May 20. He wasn't fully cleared by the Wizards' team doctors to train until August. 

He doesn't believe his game has suffered from the inactivity.

"Everything's been good. My game's improving, putting the ball on the floor a lot more," Beal said. "My confidence is still sky high. I'm ready for this year. I couldn't be more excited with the team that we have."

Beal stayed in his hometown of St. Louis for workouts. He also spent time with Wizards assistant coach Sam Cassell at Verizon Center. 

"They definitely put a lot of skill work in me, a lot of ball-handling, things I need to do off the dribble," he said. "Hopefully I'll be able to incorporate on the floor.

"I didn't skip a beat. I started off slow. My recovery progress is where I wanted it to be, nice and slow, eased my way into it and got to where I am now."