Following Monday's home loss against Sacramento, the Wizards start a three-game trip Wednesday in Philadelphia.
Whether Bradley Beal plays against the 76ers - or in any of the road games - is another story.
The rookie suffered a right wrist injury following a hard fall against the Nuggets on Jan. 18. Since then the 19-year-old has continued playing through pain, but after six games and enough misfired shots, toughing it out may no longer be the proper action.
"It’s all right. It’s not 100 percent, so I’m not going to force it or irritate it anymore," Beal said following Tuesday's practice, one in which he did not participate on the court. "I haven’t been the same ever since. It was just the fall. If I feel as though I’m can’t help the team like I was previously, then I’m not going even going to play and force it or irritate it even more."
With his textbook shooting combining with brimming confidence, Beal drained long shot after long shot for much of January, putting himself into the Rookie of the Year chase. During the Wizards' (11-32) first nine games this month, including the matchup against the Nuggets, Beal shot a staggering 60.4 percent (26 of 43) from beyond the arc while averaging 19.2 points.
Then the misses began piling up. Over the next six games, his averaged dipped to 8.8 points. Beal shot only 30 percent (6 of 20) on his 3-point attempts, 35.7 percent (20 of 56) overall. During Washington's last two games, the shooting guard shot 25 percent (4 of 16) from the field. In the last second 95-94 loss to the Kings, Beal scored six points in 24 minutes.
"My shot’s not even the same," said Beal, who classified his status as "day-to-day." "If you see it, it’s totally different. And I can feel it in my wrist. It bothers me. Yesterday for some reason, it wasn’t bothering me. But now, it just came back, so I’m not going to keep irritating it and making it worse."
Beal has missed only two games as rookie, both coming following another hard fall, this time when Atlanta's Josh Smith blocked his dunk.
On Tuesday, Beal sported a soft wrist brace. Wizards coach Randy Wittman also said the team's medical staff, "put a splint on there so he can't move it or anything. See if that helps overnight."
As for whether the starting guard would even play against Philadelphia (18-26), Wittman offered no definitive response.
"I don't know. I'm anticipating yes, but obviously, I think there is a chance maybe not. We'll see what tomorrow brings," the coach said.
Considering Beal's talent, his tomorrow with the Wizards and in the NBA is beyond a mere day.
"I’m a tough kid," Beal said. "I feel as though it has to be broke in order for me not to play. At the same time, I want a long career in this league and I have to take care of my body and I have to do what’s best for myself and my team."
"I like that in any of my players that want to tough through it," Wittman said. "There is a difference between an injury and being hurt. He's a tough kid. He wants to play. We also have to have an understanding that if it's affecting his play to a certain extent then you have to look at some rest."
After Philadelphia, Washington plays at Memphis on Friday before visiting San Antonio on Saturday.
Before falling into some old bad habits in the loss to Sacramento, the Wizards won 7 of 10 games.
"As I told them, it's almost like you're horseback riding and you get bucked off the horse," Wittman said. "Now we have to get up, dust ourselves off and get back on. That's what we have to do."