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If concussion symptom free, Beal will play with broken nose

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If concussion symptom free, Beal will play with broken nose

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."

 

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: How they can keep it rolling in Game 5

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: How they can keep it rolling in Game 5

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes, Travis Thomas and Julie Donaldson reset the series and looked ahead to Game 5.

They were joined by TSN Sports anchor Kayla Grey to find out the Toronto perspective. The Wizards have all the momentum in this series, now they just have to keep it going.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Even after injury-riddled year, Wizards are seeing peak John Wall in playoffs

Even after injury-riddled year, Wizards are seeing peak John Wall in playoffs

You would not have known it by John Wall's towering poster-dunks over Jonas Valanciunas and Jakob Poeltl in Game 4, or his fourth quarter takeover after Bradley Beal fouled out, but Wall is still technically working his way into midseason form from the left knee surgery that kept him out more than two months down the stretch of the regular season. Add into the equation that he sprained his right ankle in Game 3, then resprained it in Game 4 right after Beal went out, and it's quite clear that what he is doing is simply not normal. 

Throughout Wall's recovery, his head coach Scott Brooks remarked how Wall can regain his form unusually quick following an injury absence. Game 4 was just his eighth game back, yet through four playoff games he is averaging an absurd 26.8 points, 13.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 1.0 blocks.

If that's what he's doing eight games removed from recovery, and against the top team in the Eastern Conference, what does peak playoff form look like? 

"I told y'all, I told all the media that I only need like three or four games. I really didn't need too many games," he said. "All the hard work that I did in those two months was to prepare myself to be ready for the playoffs."

Wall said he started feeling like himself in his final regular season game, his fourth outing following the injury rehab. It was against the Celtics and he scored 29 points to go along with 12 assists, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals.

"I just started to see shots fall down that I was falling short with a couple games before that," Wall said of that night.

Brooks saw a change in Wall against the Cavaliers on April 5, in just his third game back. That game Wall put up 28 points, 14 assists, four rebounds and three steals. Most importantly, he logged 38 minutes.

"I knew I was going to challenge his body with extra minutes," Brooks said. "The way he responded to that, I knew he was back."

Whenever the turning point happened, there is no looking back. Wall has found his groove to not only impact, but at times dominate playoff games against one of the best defensive teams in basketball.

In Game 4 once Beal went down, Wall looked like the best player on the court. He scored eight of the Wizards' final 14 points to seal the victory and did so on a bum ankle. He outshined both DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, two All-Star guards.

Wall even played sound defense on DeRozan in big moments. DeRozan shot 10-for-29 in the game.

"I think I did a good job of contesting him," Wall said. "Just do whatever it takes to help this team win."

What Brooks predicted would happen has indeed played out. He has been with Wall for about two years now and knows what the star point guard is made of.

"I've been with him two years, he loves to play," Brooks said, noting there have been some tough conversations to convince him to come out of games.

Consider this: Wall has scored 20 points or more in six straight games, his longest streak of the 2017-18 season. He has actually reached 23 points or more in those six games, which is tied for the longest such streak of his entire career.

Through eight games overall and four games in the playoffs, Wall has reminded everyone of what the Wizards missed. Yes, they went 10-3 when he first went down with the injury in late January, but that was not sustainable.

They need Wall to reach their full potential as a team and especially in the postseason. Late-game situations like in Game 4, when Beal exited and it was tied with 4:58 to play, are when the superstars separate themselves.

Wall did that and now the Wizards are in good shape with the series at 2-2 and having won two straight.

"Blame everything on him," Brooks joked of the Wizards' up-and-down regular season. "If he wasn't hurt, we'd be better, right?"

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