WASHINGTON (AP) — Wizards leading scorer Bradley Beal won’t take part in the restart of the NBA season, a significant absence in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Beal is out because of a right rotator cuff injury.
Washington is one of three teams left in the chase for the final two playoff spots in the East. If the Wizards finish within four games of whichever club finishes eighth, then two games will be played to determine the No. 8 seed.
“Bradley did everything possible to be ready to play, but after closely monitoring his individual workouts, we came to the conclusion that it was best for him to sit out the upcoming games in Orlando and avoid the risk of further injury,” general manager Tommy Sheppard said.
Washington will also be without forward Davis Bertans, who decided to opt out of playing as a pending free agent, and injured guard John Wall. With Beal and Bertans out, a Wizards team that has been without Wall all season will have to replace more than 40 points per game if it is to somehow get into that postseason mix.
Beal averaged 30.5 points a game this season, almost twice as much as Bertans, the Wizards’ No. 2 scorer. The 27-year-old was preparing to play, even while the decision was up in the air.
“I was loving my game this year and how I was playing towards the end of the year,” Beal said last week. “It’s more or less going to be a decision that comes down to the medical staff and I, just because of our precautions and just coming back from being zero to 100. Then I had some nagging stuff at the end of the year we’re trying to clean up, too.”
That team said that was shoulder discomfort Beal experienced early in the season and it worsened over time. The decision to hold him out of play at Walt Disney World was made in consultation with chief of athletic care and performance Daniel Medina, orthopedist Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, Beal and his representatives.
“This was a difficult decision and one that I did not take lightly as the leader of this team,” Beal said in a statement. “I wanted to help my teammates compete for a playoff spot in Orlando but also understand that this will be best for all of us in the long term.”
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