With 2:08 left in the fourth quarter, Bradley Beal launched himself into the air to defend Jrue Holiday.
Holiday passed instead of shooting.
Beal was in for a crash landing. As he came down, Beal's left foot struck his teammate, Nene, on the leg. Beal landed hard but his foot still hadn't straightened. He ended up with a bad ankle sprain and had to be carried off the floor as the Wizards collectively held their breath in the 90-87 victory vs. the Philadelphia 76ers.
Beal, who came into the locker room after the game on crutches, was relieved after team doctors told him that he should be OK.
“I’m grateful it wasn't my knee but it still felt bad,” said Beal who already had his right ankle taped because of a high sprain. “I just came down on my own. Just rolled it.
“I got X-rays. It looked the same. It looked normal. I just have to see how it feels tomorrow.”
Beal, who had 14 points on 6-for-12 shooting in the win, will get more tests Monday. He discarded his crutches to go to the shower. He also stood at his locker to change and put pressure on the ankle without a problem.
Earlier in the game, Beal was favoring his right (shooting) wrist. He had a hard fall in Wednesday’s game vs. the Detroit Pistons, re-aggravating that injury that he incurred in January. He also lost pieces off his two front teeth in a collision in practice in February and needed two hours in a dentist's chair to fix it.
Sunday's injury marred with was otherwise an impressive performance by point guard John Wall, who rebounded from a sub-par six-game stretch, to tie with teammate Martell Webster for a game-high 16 points.
Wall also had six assists, five rebounds and only two turnovers. He made two free throws and two jump shots in the final 1:33 to bring back the Wizards who’d blown a 10-point lead in the third quarter.
All five Wizards starters reached double figures. Emeka Okafor had a double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds. Nene, who returned after missing two games with a right (shooting) shoulder sprain, fell one shy with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Beal's absence made it imperative for Wall to be assertive down the stretch. Beal had posted a career-high 29 points in Friday’s loss to the New York Knicks. Wall hadn't shot 50% or better in a game since Feb. 11.
Wall didn't hesitate in knocking down an 18-foot jump shot and then a 20-footer with 4.4 seconds left for the final margin vs. the Sixers.
“I think I've (been) a little too passive down the stretch,” said Wall. “Just try to be more aggressive and take the open shot.
“I know the defense is going to play off of me. Just to take it with confidence.”
The Wizards travel to play at the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. While Beal's status is unclear, he might not have the crutches around for long.
"Knowing me," he said, "I probably won't use them."