Martell Webster always hated to have his ankles taped, going back to his high school days, but he has reached a stage in his career when he has little choice.
Webster sprained his left ankle during a preseason loss to the New Orleans Pelicans in Lexington, Ky., fought through it, and kept playing until he aggravated the injury on Friday at the end of the first quarter of the Wizards’ 109-105 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
When he landed on the foot of Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo, Webster crumpled to the floor and needed the assistance of Trevor Ariza and later Kevin Seraphin to walk to the locker room. Webster then decided that if he was going to keep playing, he had make a change.
“I never want to go through anything like that again,” Webster said after returning to practice on Wednesday. “Both my ankles are taped. I never want to go through anything like that again. I never really played with ankle braces or tape, at all in my career. Just it was never comfortable for me. Now it’s something I’ve got to get accustomed to.”
After participating in “90 percent” of practice, Webster is optimistic that he will be able to play on Friday in Atlanta.
“Feels good. It’s a little weak, but I’m testing the waters,” Webster said. “So taking a step in the right direction.
“It was very painful when it happened. Felt a little bit worse than it was when I did it in Kentucky, but I knew it wasn’t going to sideline me very long,” he said. “I played through it in Kentucky. This one required a little more TLC, but we’re good. We’ve been taking care of it the last couple days and I’m confident in the way it feels and I feel like I can go out there and play.”
Bradley Beal also made it back on the floor in a limited capacity after getting cleared to increase basketball-related activities this week. Beal participated in some live action but was kept to one side of the court and mostly moved around in non-contact, five-on-none work.
“It’s great. They want me to still take it slow and work my way into it,” Beal said. “I did a lot of half-court stuff. The doc and the trainers don’t want me to go full court or up and down as much, but I definitely got into some drills that were pretty live in the half court, getting use to cutting and curling and just doing little drills like that, and competing a little bit and getting my legs back. It was definitely great to be able to do that and being back out there.”
“We have to play to day by day. As long as I continue to feel good, when the doc presses on it and there is no feeling at all, that’s when he’ll give me a go. Until then, it’s day by day,” Beal said. “I would love to play [in Atlanta]. I’m hoping to play but I can’t guarantee anything.”
Webster called Beal’s return “a little teaser” for the coaching staff, but said he looked great.
Coach Randy Wittman wants to see how both players respond to practices before declaring them ready for action this weekend. Nene remained sidelined with a sore right Achilles’ tendon but Wittman didn’t want to make any predictions.
Nene “didn’t practice today. But we’ve also seen it where he’s all of a sudden felt pretty good and said, ‘I’m playing.’ I don’t want to tell you, ‘No.’ I don’t want to mislead you,” Wittman said. “I would say, he more than Brad, if there is one of them that’s going to play” this weekend.