PHILADELPHIA — Bradley Beal saw the crowd of reporters hovering near his locker stall, but before standing up to face the questions following the Washington Wizards’ 118-113 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, he had a simple request.
Beal motioned over the team’s videographer and asked that he keep the light turned off on top. His right eye puffy from an errant elbow earlier in the game, Beal experienced some blurred vision and — for postgame interview purposes — a bit of sensitivity to light.
Beal, his eye bruised and right nostril plugged up to stop bleeding, left the game in the first quarter after taking contact from Sixers guard Jerryd Bayless. Though he returned to the game, squinting as he scored 21 points, Beal said he must undergo an eye exam Thursday during the team’s day off.
“Just got elbowed,” Beal said. “Really sharp elbow in my eye. Killed me for a minute.”
As the game continued, a medical professional tended to Beal. Although no initial damage was discovered and he cleared a concussion test, Beal said he was given two options: go to the hospital or play again in the second half.
“I think we all know the answer to that,” Beal said. “I went out at halftime to see if I could shoot. That’s all I needed to really see. As long as I was able to see the basket, I was cool.”
However, Beal could not explain why his nose started bleeding after his eye took the hit. He fixed that problem with the aid of a cotton ball.
“I guess, they always say the body works in mysterious ways,” Beal said. “I just clogged it. It started dripping a little back here [in the locker room] but we were able to stop it and prevent it.”
Since Beal played less than nine minutes in the first half against the 76ers, the Wizards floundered without their two best players.
John Wall, who remained in Washington during the team’s two-game road trip, will miss an extended stretch of games while his left knee recovers from platelet-rich plasma and viscosupplementation injections. And with Beal in the locker room reeling from the stinging in his eye, the Wizards stumbled into an 18-point halftime deficit.
“Brad, unfortunately he got elbowed in the nose. It was an accident,” Coach Scott Brooks said. “But that didn’t help. Because they basically [put] us down two starters. But we still got to play better.”
The Wizards’ chance for redemption begins Friday night at home against the Detroit Pistons — but will Beal need goggles to play?
“Aw, man,” Beal said. “I already wear contacts. I don’t think I can wear goggles, man. You might as well say, ‘put a mask on.’ I don’t know. It might be a possibility, I know I’ve got to find out tomorrow.”
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