While the Washington Wizards prepared for the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday at their morning shootaround, rookie Bradley Beal was in New York visiting a hand specialist to check on his sore right wrist.
Coach Randy Wittman said the visit was “precautionary” but was uncertain about Beal’s availability for the game at Wells Fargo Center. Beal will be a game-time decision.
“Again, it’s going to all depend on when he warms up, how he feels. We just wanted him to – since we’re so close to New York – to go look at it,” said Wittman, who doesn’t expect the injury to keep Beal sidelined for long if he is forced to miss any game time.
Wittman appeared to be preparing for Beal to take some time off during the 96-94 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Monday night, as he experimented with playing Martell Webster with Trevor Ariza and had Jordan Crawford finish the game along with John Wall. If Beal is unable to play, Wittman said he could go with Garrett Temple over Ariza or Crawford in the starting lineup.
“I’m thinking about different avenues. I haven’t made a decision yet,” Wittman said. “I got to think about bench production and what we’ve got off the bench. I can start Garrett. Play him early, because he’s going to defend and not disrupt J.C.’s scoring and we need scoring off the bench. I need that punch still.”
The 6-foot-8 Ariza provides the Wizards with some versatility and has received minutes at three positions since returning from a strained left calf earlier this month. Webster has remained the starting small forward but Ariza said the two players could complement each other well if they share the floor and Beal is forced to rest.
“We do different things,” Ariza said. “Martell is more of a shooter, I’m more of a slasher. So you get two bigger players that guard can guard the perimeters and one that slashes and one that can space the floor a little bit better. Not saying that Brad couldn’t do those things, but we have a little bit more experience than he does at this point.”
Ariza said he would be prepared for either scenario, as a starter or reserve. “I’m just playing basketball. The game is simple, I think. I’ll do anything to get on the floor, stay on the floor. So whatever it takes to play, I try to do. I don’t care. I just care about playing.”