Bradley Beal looked like himself again in his first minutes back on the court in a 127-105 victory over Phoenix on Saturday following six missed games with a sprained left ankle.
While it was curious that he was listed as day-to-day by the Wizards for an injury that kept him out for two weeks, the prescribed rest appeared to be the right treatment. Beal had 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting (3-for-4 from 3-point) along with six rebounds in a well-rounded contribution during just under 21 minutes of playing time.
“I got mad when Witt [coach Randy Wittman] took me out,” Beal said. “I already knew that was going to happen, but it was for my own benefit so I wasn’t really too mad.”
Wittman said Beal went through a spirited warmup on the practice court before the decision was made to play, and Beal’s teammates saw their rookie teammate’s excitement about getting back on the floor before the game.
“When he made his decision, he was happy. He was cheesing the whole time with his Afro and stuff. It was good to have him back,” point guard John Wall said. “He wanted to play more minutes, but you know coming off an injury, you got to take your time. But he came in and made shots. I told him it seemed like he didn’t lose his rhythm.”
The decision to play was also a test. The true measure of whether’s Beal is back for good will come against Charlotte tonight. Beal said the Suns game was the first time he’d really been able to consider playing. With the level of his recent contributions – 19.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 49.1 percent shooting since the All-Star break – there better be good reasons for him not to play.
“Just healing, just sitting down, that’s the worst part,” Beal said. “Actually having to listen. Listen to trainers just tell you when it’s time to sit down, it’s time to sit down. So that’s all I have to do and it actually felt good today so I just wanted to give it a go to see where I was at.”
Before the game Beal wore heat wraps on both ankles to help get them warm.
“A few times where I felt like it just stopped on me and I really couldn’t do anything about it,” he said. “Other than that, I didn’t really have too many problems. I was able to move and cut, and chase guys off screens as well.”
After playing 41 and 45 minutes, respectively, in the previous two games with A.J. Price also out due to a groin injury, Garrett Temple was relieved to have Beal back.
“When he hit that first three, I knew he was back, almost back to his old self,” Temple said. “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.”