Bradley Beal still hasn't been cleared to return to basketball activities, but Wizards coach Randy Wittman wants him to play summer league in Las Vegas.
Beal only played in seven of the last 26 games because leg injuries. First it was a left ankle sprain. Then he was shut down for the season when the team did tests on both legs and realized he had a stress injury to his fibula, a small bone in his lower right leg.
“I think it'd be good for him. … He needs to work on in his game. From a ball-handling standpoint, from a pick-and-roll standpoint,” Wittman said of Beal playing summer-league ball. “We can do all the dummy drills down here against a cone you want but it's still nothing like actual competition.”
Beal played in 56 games as a rookie, averaging 13.9 points and excelling in the backcourt with point guard John Wall when he returned. Wall had missed the first 33 games of the season with a left knee stress injury.
His injury keeps him out until at least May 20, just before the draft lottery that will determine where the Wizards pick in the first round of the June 27 draft. Beal will be cleared by team doctors to return to action and he’ll spend some time in his hometown, St. Louis, in the off-season.
Playing hurt -– Beal had a high right ankle sprain that led to the stress injury --is what ended his season prematurely. The 19-year-old may not have learned his lesson just yet.
“Knowing me I'd probably try,” he said of playing if the Wizards’ season was still going. “Probably wouldn't be the smartest thing. It feels fine right now only because I'm not doing anything which I'm required to do. I'm really just staying off it, walking around, no running, not jumping. I still have a few more weeks before I can do any of that.”
Beal plans to train with Wall. The teams will finalize their summer league rosters after the draft. The NBA will determine those exact dates in a few weeks, but it'll be in July.
“Whatever they decide,” Beal said of the Wizards. “It’s just basketball.”