Bradley Beal will likely miss his fourth consecutive game with a sprained left ankle as the Wizards attempt to avoid a season sweep on Tuesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. When asked to provide an update on Beal after Monday’s practice, Coach Randy Wittman responded with a question that gave the answer.
“How do I know? He didn’t practice,” Wittman said with a laugh, before adding that Beal sitting out was “probably not” a good sign.
Beal has been sidelined since sustaining the injury on March 3 during an awkward landing in the fourth quarter of a win over Philadelphia. The Wizards have gone 1-2 since he went down with the ankle sprain and are 3-7 without Beal overall. They have lost five consecutive road games without him.
“I’m still day-to-day,” Beal said. “It has its days. It has its ups and downs. It’s starting to get better. Starting to move more on it. I haven’t ran on it yet though so we’ll just have to see.”
Wittman said the team is in no rush to bring back Beal before he is ready to play.
“He didn’t feel up to getting on the court, so we didn’t. No sense putting him on the court and making it worse. But we’ve got to make sure we get to a point where he feels he can get out on the floor. it’s just one of those injuries. Tomorrow he may wake up and feel better, go to shootaround and oooh, this feels okay. So until we reach that point, that could be tomorrow, that could be a week from now, I don’t know.
If Beal is unable to play, Garrett Temple will get the starting nod again at shooting guard. The Wizards are 5-4 with him starting alongside John Wall during a 104-87 win on Saturday against Charlotte. Beal shot free throws after practicing and is moving around without a limp in his sneakers but said he remains limited.
“I haven’t tried that yet,” Beal said, when asked if can cut yet on the ankle. “Probably do something tomorrow, like at shootaround, before the game, see how it feel.”
The Wizards are 0-2 against Cleveland this season, and Beal has had two difficult shooting nights against the Cavaliers. In the season opener, Beal scored just eight points on 2 of 8 shooting. When the teams met on Dec. 26, Beal went 0-for-5 with just two points. His counterpart, Dion Waiters, who went one spot behind Beal in the NBA draft at No. 4, has averaged 13 points in the Cavaliers’ two wins.
Waiters also edged Beal for Eastern Conference rookie of the month for February and will be looked up to score more with point guard Kyrie Irving out for three to four weeks with a sprained left shoulder.
“He’s been pretty good. He’s been a big factor for their team, scoring-wise,” Beal said of Waiters. “When Kyrie’s out he’s definitely carrying the scoring load for their team. He’s been having a great year. He’s showing why he’s the No. 4 pick, I think when we play him, he wants to show he wants to be No. 3, which is competitive to me. It just shows that he’s competitive and he wants to prove himself to people. I definitely have the same mentality. He’s a great competitor. I’m going to be playing against him for the rest of my life. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”