Following Washington Wizards practice Thursday afternoon, rookie guard Bradley Beal stayed behind to work extensively on his jump shot and physical fitness. He collected passes from assistant coach Sam Cassell, dribbled and rose for three-pointers, mid-range shots and the occasional four- to five-footers all while running from one end of the Verizon Center practice court to the other.
Once his extended session was complete, Beal indicated he was on track to come back Friday from a right wrist injury that has kept him out for the last five games. Beal was injured Jan. 18 during a 112-108 road win against the Denver Nuggets, and although he played through the discomfort, the NBA’s rookie of the month for December decided rest was necessary.
“It’s a lot better,” Beal said of his wrist, which was wrapped in protective tape. “I think I’m going to play tomorrow. I mean it took a while. It took a long time, but it’s healing back, and I feel good.”
Beal suffered the injury late in the fourth quarter against the Nuggets when center Kosta Koufos knocked him down on a baseline drive. Since the injury, Beal is averaging 9.4 points and shooting 34 percent, including 28 percent from three-point range. He averaged 19.2 points and 48 percent from the field over his first nine games in January and logged five games of at least 20 points during that stretch.
Beal’s last game was Jan. 28 against the Sacramento Kings. He scored six points and was benched for all but three minutes of the fourth quarter during the 96-94 loss, convincing the No. 3 overall pick that sitting out the next handful of games was the most prudent course of action.
“I’ve been doing a lot of type of running, running I’ve never even done since high school,” Beal said. “I mean it’s really hard getting back in shape because not doing anything for three or four days, I mean you lose your wind that quick. These guys are doing a great job of helping me get that back.”