Wizards drop a heartbreaker in OT
When rookie shooting guard Bradley Beal crashed hard to the floor midway through the third quarter of the Wizards’ 100-95 overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night a million thoughts ran through the minds of Wizards fans.
Heck, even Beal had enough time to wonder if he’d been hurt badly.
“I was going up to dunk the ball,” Beal said of his collision with Hawks forward Josh Smith. “The guys said I was high up and I felt like I was high up because it took me forever to come down.
“I didn’t know when I was going to come down and all of a sudden – bang – I hit the ground.”
Already without star point guard John Wall [knee], replacement point guard A.J. Price [hand] and forwards Trevor Ariza [calf] and Trevor Booker [knee], the Wizards could hardly stand the thought of losing another player to injury.
Beal said he landed on his tailbone but his head also hit the hardwood and he was taken to the trainer’s room for a concussion evaluation. When he passed the test, Beal returned to the lineup 1:39 into the fourth quarter and played the remainder of the game.
“I was debating it, but I didn’t have a concussion,” Beal said. “That’s all I was really worried about. I can play through anything. Once I passed the [concussion] test I figured I’d go back out there and see how it felt.”
Beal struggled in the second half, missing 13 of his final 15 shots to finish with 17 points. Still, Wizards coach Randy Wittman was impressed.
“That showed some moxie, coming back from a fall like that,” Wittman said. “He hit his head pretty good. … I’m sure he’s going to be sore [Wednesday].”
After the game Bradley walked gingerly around the Wizards locker room, holding his lower back. He said he plans on playing Wednesday night in Orlando against the Magic.
“I feel fine,” he said. “My back’s tight, but I don’t have a concussion and my head’s not hurting. I was just banged up. I should be good to go [Wednesday].”