Bradley Beal's right rotator cuff injury is enough to keep him out of the NBA's restart in Orlando, but not enough to require surgery, according to Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard.
Sheppard said he doesn't "think surgery is an option at all" and repeated that claim, indicating it is not even on the table at this point. The team is confident Beal can manage the injury because he already has for roughly eight months.
Beal, Sheppard says, first hurt his shoulder on Nov. 27 against the Phoenix Suns. The rotator cuff was aggravated several times throughout the course of the season when he got bumped during games, often times when coming off screens.
Beal, of course, played very well despite the discomfort. He left off in March averaging 30.5 points per game, second in the NBA behind only James Harden.
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Sheppard says keeping him out now is more about preventing it from getting worse during a stretch of games that aren't as important as the team's big picture future.
"I think if we had another month of ramp-up time, Bradley would probably be ready to play. These are eight games vs. 82 next season and all the seasons beyond that. I think it's worth mitigating the risk right now for what's ahead," Sheppard said.
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Sheppard also noted the truncated NBA offseason due to the months-long postponement of games this season. With next season expected to begin in December, the turnaround will be quicker. A serious injury at this point could affect his status for the start of next season.
The Wizards want to avoid that because they are anticipating the return of John Wall from his Achilles injury and want to have both of their All-Star guards in the fold. Beal sitting out helps preserve that.
The question now is whether Beal can work around his right rotator cuff injury without surgery. He has proven he can manage it, but it has already lingered for eight months. Will it still be an issue, minor or major, five months from now?
For the meantime, Beal will have to watch from afar as the Wizards go to Orlando to close out their season. He is set to stay back in Washington and continue working with coaches at the Wizards' practice facility.
Beal ends the year with some pristine numbers: 30.5 points, 6.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. The points-per-game are the second-most in franchise history only to Walt Bellamy's 31.6 in 1961-62.
Not bad for a guy who was playing hurt.
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