Not looking any worse for wear after talking an elbow to the face, Bradley Beal likely will play tonight for the Wizards when they take the Denver Nuggets provided he passes the last set of concussion protocols pregame.
Beal wore a mask to protect a broken nose at shootaround at Verizon Center and declared that he will play though that's not official. He took a blow to the face three days ago when he was hit by Marcus Smart as the Boston Celtics' guard drove to the basket.
"I passed the protocol yesterday. They'll put me through some more stuff before the game. The doctor still has to clear me," Beal said of the mandated NBA rules regarding concussions. "I've passed every test I've needed to. I feel good. I have no symptoms."
Beal, who is playing under a minutes restriction because of a stress reaction in his lower right leg, was in his fifth game back with the Wizards (20-23). He'd missed 16 games because of that already. The concussion and broken nose happened on a fluke play but he has gone through balance and running tests and was symptom free.
"Not a good injury to have. It's also a serious one to take note on and being honest about my symptoms," Beal said of the concussion. "Hopefully I'll never have one every again."
When Smart went to the basket, his off hand (left) struck Beal across the face and he bled instantly was left the game.
"It wasn't a dirty play. I know Marcus," Beal said. "He's really aggressive. Sometimes he can be a little out of control. I don't think it was on purpose.
"I knew my nose was broke when I walked off. There was so much blood there's got to be something wrong. When I got to back (to the locker room) all of a sudden I got a little dizzy. Then I kept having blank stares and I was out of it a little bit."
Part of Beal's evolution as a player is going beyond three-point shooting, keeping his dribble alive, getting into the paint and drawing contact. With a broken nose, it would be natural for anyone to shy away from collisions.
"Doctor told me I can't touch my nose. I can't sneeze. I can't pick my nose. It's really just leave it alone for four to six weeks until it heals," Beal said. "It is a little hard to breathe. I still have a little blood and everything clogged up in my nose."
After pausing to think about if he will change his style of attacking, Beal changed his mind in a split second. He'll deal with the consequences as they come.
"I'm not going to stop. I have a mask on. It's pretty protective," he said. "If I get hit again, it's just meant for me to get hit in my nose again. I hate new devices and contraptions I have to put on my body so don't be alarmed if you see me throw it off in the middle of the game."