Rehabbing Beal navigates free time

Rehabbing Beal navigates free time
May 8, 2013, 3:15 pm
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His initial NBA campaign behind him, Bradley Beal deals with his first true offseason, one that for now does not include full-blown basketball playing. 

At least the 19-year-old appears to be using his considerable free time productively while working his way back from a season-ending right leg stress injury.

Still not cleared to resume full basketball-related activities, the wing guard spent a chunk of his Wednesday afternoon hoisting perimeter shots on the Wizards practice court inside the Verizon Center. With older brother Bruce playing the role of rebounder, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft casually launched set shots from around the 3-point line. No running or sincere jumping took place during the observed 15 minutes.

Hey, his game needs tending; the hours and days need filling. This is what gym rats do.

After leaving the structured world at the University of Florida last season, Beal's life remained rather planned out with training sessions, team interviews and workouts leading into the NBA Draft. Additional prearrangement's came when the Wizards drafted the scoring threat and took him under the franchise's wing.   

The true challenge of day-to-day scheduling would come during the season.

"Biggest thing is you have a lot of free time," Beal said the day after Washington's final game of the season. "In college you have school, homework, tests, studying. You had a busy schedule, you had a planned out schedule. Now it's like you have practice and you're done. You have to find something to do. You have to find a hobby."

Beal stated drawing and listening to music as his primary diversions. Considering he remains part of the teenager demographic, - that is until he turns 20 on June 26 - those seem like choices parents (and management) can enthusiastically support.

Same goes for seeing him in town and on the practice court shortly after the Washington Mystics wrapped up their daily training camp session.

Beal only played in seven of the last 26 games because of leg injuries, starting with 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.

The Wizards announced on April 3 that Beal would miss the remainder of the season and would return to basketball-related activities in approximately six weeks.

Beal played in 56 games this season, averaged 13.9 points and finished third in the NBA's Rookie of the Year voting.

With those kind of practice limitations, it's good to have assistance filling the hours in the day. Bruce and another brother, Brandon, lived with Bradley during his rookie season. Their helping ways extended beyond the court - and toward Bradley maintaining his sanity.

"That's probably the biggest thing which is why I'm glad I have my brothers with me cause if I was by myself I don't know what I would do," Beal joked. "I'd probably go crazy. It's definitely a big transition, but at the same time you have a lot of freedom."

Hopefully returning to his basketball norm in the coming weeks will help on all mental and scheduling fronts.