The Wizards don’t have much time to dwell on the absence of Bradley Beal, with team playing four games in five nights, beginning on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers. Beal goes down at the same the time the Wizards welcome back Trevor Ariza and Chris Singleton to the active list and Otto Porter Jr. has started practicing.
“It’s weird,” Beal said. “All those guys came back and they had a great practice and I was like, itching to be on the floor to practice yesterday, because it was so competitive and to actually have Otto and Chris and Trevor back, it just increased the intensity level that much more. I couldn’t sit down for a long time. Coaches had to make me sit down for a little bit, but it’s still good that goes came back and hopefully, I’ll be reunited with them real soon.”
Martell Webster will start at shooting guard in place of Beal and Ariza will be inserted back into the starting lineup at small forward.
“We’re basically right where we were, Trevor’s back and he takes Bradley’s spot,” Coach Randy Wittman said. “We’ll miss Brad, but obviously, an opportunity as we get Trevor back, which will help us and we’ve got to step up in his absence, like you always do when somebody goes down. We should still move forward, as we’ve been playing the last four or five games and continue that progress.”
Ariza had been out since straining his right hamstring on Nov. 12 in San Antonio. He returned to practice on Monday and didn’t experience any setbacks. “I felt good. Didn’t feel any soreness, any tightness or anything. I just finished out practice and did everything I normally do,” Ariza said. “Just continue to keep an eye on it always, doing something to try to speed up the process. Take care of my body and continue to get the work in.”
Before Beal’s ailment was made public, Ariza was asked about the importance of being careful when returning from injuries. “It’s never good when people get hurt. But you can never play the game cautious,” Ariza said. “Go out there and think about how to prevent yourself from being injured. You just got to go out there and play. Whatever happens, happens.”
With his team lacking 20.6 points and one its best shooters, Wittman said the Wizards will have to come together to fill the void. “It’s not a person. It’s a team. We don’t have a guy coming off the bench, that’s going to overtake what he does.”
(TV: Comcast SportsNet. Radio: WJFK-106.7, WFED-1500). Here’s some pregame/in-game reading: