“I want to question [people]: Do you think I want to get hurt?” Beal said. “It’s not on purpose, it just happens. It naturally happens.”
During the Wednesday practice, Beal caught an inadvertent elbow from center Ian Mahinmi, who was stripped of the ball, his arms flailing, and “my head was in the way,” as Beal recalled.
“I kind of blacked out and [teammates] said I fell kind of dramatically. I fell like in slow motion,” Beal said. “It was definitely a tough blow and I kind of blanked out for a minute but I’m good now.”
The team held out Beal from the next two practices, but he passed the NBA’s return-to-participation protocol and returned to a full work load by Saturday. By many accounts, Beal shot the ball well and played aggressively during the session that was closed to the media. Nevertheless, Beal wanted to make clear that he truly does desire to stay healthy — though the overflow of negative reactions to his concussion seemed to suggest to Beal that observers thought he enjoyed being on the sideline.
“People make it seem like I’m trying to get hurt, you know what I’m saying?” Beal said. “I’m not here, like: ‘Oh, hit me in the head on this play!’ Nah, it just happens. Anybody can be in that position, so that’s not going to stop me from being aggressive and continuing to play hard.”
While Beal spent two days in the team hotel, away from the Siegel Center, he knew that practices remained competitive with the remaining players. The Wizards have 18 on the roster but will have to trim to 15 or fewer before the start of the regular season.
“I don’t want Ernie’s job, or Coach’s job,” Beal said of General Manager Ernie Grunfeld and Coach Scott Brooks. “That’s going to be tough because guys are really competing and there are guys who probably deserve spots and I wish we can keep everybody. If we could keep 18, then we should keep all 18 but we know that can’t happen, that’s how good everyone’s playing.”