The Washington Wizards received some very bad injury news yesterday, as second year shooting guard Bradley Beal will miss at least the next two weeks with a stress injury in his right leg. Beal missed several weeks with this injury last season, and he will be re-evaluated in two weeks. The Wizards are concerned that he could miss a significant amount of time if he doesn’t show improvement.
Beal was the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 draft, and he has been off to a very strong start to this season, averaging 20.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 3.5 APG. Beal and John Wall form one of the most promising backcourts in the NBA, and with Trevor Ariza, Otto Porter Jr.and Chris Singleton all set for returns in the near future, the Wizards were hoping to finally be at full strength.
Washington has had some struggles this season, and they are currently in 9th in the Eastern Conference. However, the East is so weak that even a minor win streak will shoot any team near the top of the standings, and the young Wizards had hoped to make their return to the playoffs this season. That is still very much within their reach if this injury turns out to be minor, but a long term injury would cripple those chances.
Having Beal as their leading scorer allows Wall to focus on being more a distributor, which makes the entire team better. Wall will have to pick up scoring slack in Beal’s absence, and the hope is that he doesn’t revert back to his high volume, low efficiency ways from his first two seasons. The Wizards will also miss Beal’s solid perimeter defense, though the return of Ariza should help soften that blow. Martell Webster will take over as the starter for Beal, and it remains to be seen if he can continue his very good bench production in extended minutes.
Hopefully for the Wizards, Beal’s absence will be a short one. He is one of the most exciting young players in the league, and a significant setback wold be very damaging to the Wizards. Their season now hinges on Beal’s health, and all the Wizards can do is hope for a quick return.