MINNEAPOLIS – Bradley Beal hobbled into the locker room, dragging his left leg. Somehow, the sight provided a modicum of comfort for the Wizards as they got dressed following a 120-98 beatdown in Minnesota. They feared the worst when Beal crumpled to floor after a collision with Timberwolves backup forward Luc Mbah a Moute and couldn’t walk, or even stand on his own, because of a knee injury.
Martell Webster and Chris Singleton both stood over Beal as he tried, unsuccessfully, to get back up with 4 minutes, 27 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Jan Vesely and Trevor Ariza eventually placed Beal on their shoulders and carried him off the court.
“Obviously, it was pretty serious. He didn’t come back,” Webster said of Beal.
Beal’s night was probably already done because the Wizards trailed by 21 at the time, but they are concerned about when the 20-year-old shooting guard will be available to return to the lineup. Given the week that the NBA had already endured, with all-stars Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook both going down with knee injuries that will sideline them for several weeks, and with Brook Lopez and Al Horford suffering ailments that could keep them out for the rest of the season, the Wizards would be fortunate if Beal’s injury isn’t serious.
“I thought it was his ankle and then I saw it was his knee. The injuries that’s going on in the past and the knee injuries that’s going on in the NBA, you just hope it’s not one of those ones that devastating,” Wall said.
X-rays showed no fracture and Beal walked on crutches at Target Center. Beal applied ice to his knee and as he got out of his uniform and teammates approached to check on him. Glen Rice Jr. was even able to make Beal laugh with a joke.
But the team won’t know the real diagnosis until Beal has his MRI on Saturday. Beal has already missed nine games this season with a stress injury in the upper part of his right fibula and recently said that he hasn’t experienced any pain since returning on Dec. 16 to make the game-winning layup against the New York Knicks.
With the Wizards down 109-85 with 4:32 remaining, Wall, Beal and Trevor Booker were the only starters on the floor when Beal passed the ball to Singleton and set a screen for Webster. Mbah a Moute banged knees with Beal, sending him sprawling to the floor.
“I tried to cut to the rim and I ended up just bumping knees. I was just trying to just get up and I really couldn’t get up,” Beal said. “I was hoping it wasn’t anything too, too serious or too crazy. I mean, I was able to put a little weight on it afterward and we’ll see when I have an MRI.”
The Wizards are 4-5 without Beal and had lost four in a row before he came back. Beal left Target Center without any assistance or crutches but moved with a noticeable limp while wearing a protective sleeve on his leg.
The game was Beal’s first in Minnesota since he was forced to miss the game last March after severely spraining his left ankle in the previous game, a win against Philadelphia. Beal certainly won’t have many fond memories of the visit to Minneapolis. He scored just 14 points but also was in foul trouble for most of the night.
Washington also got thrashed in its most lopsided loss of the season and the result could’ve been uglier if the Wizards hadn’t scored the first nine points of the game.
“It was real tough, because we came out to a great start. We jumped on top of them, of course they are going to make a run and we didn’t retaliate. We got a little too soft,” Beal said. “We weren’t attacking as much as they were attacking us and we were kind of back on our heels a lot. That’s something that we have to do a better job of, when they punch us, we got to punch back so to speak. We got to do a better job of being more aggressive.”
For now, the Wizards just want to see Beal feel good enough to get back into the ring with them.