Wizards’ Bradley Beal on leg injury: “You have to be patient”

June 24, 2013

I’m getting there, slowly but surely. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Bradley Beal expects to be cleared to begin participating in basketball-related activities in “the next week or two” and said that his leg is healing “slowly but surely.” But the Wizards shooting guard admits that the “slowly” part has been most frustrating, since he has been limited for nearly three months with a stress injury in his right fibula.

“Watching the playoffs, watching these games and watching guys scrimmage and play, it makes you want to be out there, but you can’t,” Beal said said Sunday while making an appearance for NBA Nation at the National Capital Barbecue Battle on Pennsylvania Avenue. “At the same time, it’s something you have to be patient with…You can’t really rush it. I’m definitely taking my time, doing what I need to do. Having my trainers working me out and do what I need to do and get healthy.”

Beal is unlikely to play for the Wizards during NBA summer league in Las Vegas. The Wizards will play three games – against Golden State (July 13, at 4 p.m.), New York (July 14, at 4 p.m.) and Denver (July 16, at 10 p.m.) — before entering a single-elimination tournament. The schedule wouldn’t give him much time to recover before engaging in competitive games, but Beal said he still plans on traveling to Las Vegas for Team USA mini-camp.

Beal and backcourt mate John Wall are among the 27 players invited to audition for possible slots on future USA Basketball squads at the 2014 World Cup in Madrid and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

“Regardless if I play or not, they still want me to come,” Beal said. “Coach K [Mike Krzyzewski] and [national team assistant executive director of basketball operations] Sean Ford, they just told me to come down and no matter if I’m healthy or not. If I’m not healthy, they told me not to do anything. So I’ll just have to wait and see. I hope” to play.

Beal celebrated his 19th birthday by getting selected No. 3 overall by the Wizards last year. His 20th birthday will come Friday – a day after the Wizards pick third once again – but it will likely be a much more low-key affair.

“I’m starting to get to the point where it’s just another day,” Beal said. “It’s definitely a blessing to see another year and I’ll be home spending time with my family and friends. And I’m 20. I’m not a teenager anymore.”

The past year of his life has been somewhat overwhelming. “How fast everything went. How my dream became a reality and just me being in the NBA, period,” Beal said, when asked what stands out. “I know a lot kids dream about it and I know a lot of people don’t have success or are blessed to be in the same position that I was in, but I’m glad I took advantage of it.”

Beal didn’t want to lobby Ernie Grunfeld to draft any particular players but he knows both Anthony Bennett and Otto Porter and said he has confidence that the organization will make the right choice.

“It’s a lot of good guys there. I mean all type of people,” he said. “It’s definitely going to be an interesting draft.”

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Michael Lee | June 20, 2013