Thomas Bryant

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Thomas Bryant and Bradley Beal will return to Wizards vs. Jazz

Thomas Bryant and Bradley Beal will return to Wizards vs. Jazz

Two days following Davis Bertans' return from a nine-game absence, the Wizards will regain two more of their top scorers. 

Scott Brooks told reporters Sunday that Bradley Beal would return to the starting lineup against the Jazz under a minutes restriction. He will start alongside Isaiah Thomas, Jordan McRae, Isaac Bonga and Ian Mahinmi. 

And the good news didn't stop there. After missing the last 20 games while dealing with a foot injury, Wizards center Thomas Bryant will play Sunday as well. 

The Wizards went 7-13 without Bryant, leaning on Mahinmi, Johnathan Williams and two-way player Anzejs Pasecniks for minutes at the five. Since then, Pasecniks has secured a multi-year contract with Washington and Williams has been brought in on a two-way deal. 

Bryant was averaging 13.9 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists in his first full season as the starting center.

Beal meanwhile, missed seven of the last eight games with leg soreness. His team managed to beat the Heat, Nuggets and Celtics without him, but they sorely missed his all-around game.

Against a hot Utah team, getting Beal and Bryant could mean two straight wins for the Wizards. Utah will be without Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley.

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Thomas Bryant's passion for anime and drawing go hand-in-hand

Thomas Bryant's passion for anime and drawing go hand-in-hand

WASHINGTON -- The number of NBA players who enjoy anime, the genre of animated epics that originated in Japan, may be surprising to most. You can read stories all over the internet of players and their affection for Dragon Ball Z, in particular.

But there are anime fans and then there is Wizards center Thomas Bryant who, though does like Dragon Ball Z himself, essentially believes it is kindergarten stuff. He's more into the deep cuts, an anime connoisseur, if you will.

"Don't even try me on DBZ. I know everything about that. I know everything from Dragonball Z to Dragonball GT to Dragonball Super; all of them. We can go to a whole different level with that," he told NBC Sports Washington.

"[But] that's the easiest one to know... Everybody say they're fans, but they're not real fans. They don't really know."

Bryant says he knows anime inside and out and his affinity goes back to when he was a kid. He used to buy manga books and read the stories over and over.

"Naruto [Uzumaki], One Piece, Lelouch; all of them in there," he said. "Naruto to Sasuke. People don't even know these... Nobody knows the real background story of everything."

As a kid, Bryant would stay up late at night, especially on weekends to watch anime series. He loved Toonami on Cartoon Network. That led to him collecting action figures, which he still does today. That hobby has been taken up a notch now that he makes an NBA salary.

Bryant's love for anime also played hand-in-hand to perhaps his best talent outside of basketball. He loves to draw and is quite good at it.

"I was watching anime when I started drawing," he said. "That's where the blessing from God came in."

Bryant has a teammate who is also into anime and not just the mainstream fare. Second-year wing Isaac Bonga shares a similar feeling about Dragon Ball Z. 

"I feel like Dragonball Z, low-key everyone watches it," he said.

Bryant and Bonga's teammate Rui Hachimura also knows a little something about the genre. He is from Japan and grew up in social circles that were well-versed on the subject.

Hachimura, though, isn't nearly as crazy about it.

"Not that much," he said.

Bryant, however, is still very much into anime. And, along with his drawing, he uses it as a way to unwind when he's not on the court.

"It's just one thing that I keep to myself that I do away from basketball, just to clear my mind," he said.

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Wizards will have a tough time replacing Thomas Bryant

Wizards will have a tough time replacing Thomas Bryant

WASHINGTON -- The injuries continue to pile up for the Washington Wizards and their latest is a big one.

Starting center Thomas Bryant, arguably their second-best player, will now be sidelined for at least three weeks after suffering a stress reaction in his right foot. With Moe Wagner out nursing a sprained left ankle and Ian Mahinmi down with an Achilles strain, that leaves the Wizards very thin at the center spot.

It has gotten so bad that head coach Scott Brooks opened his pregame press conference on Tuesday asking which members of the media were available to suit up for the Wizards against the Magic.

"Can you play?" Brooks asked.

The reality is that Brooks has no ideal direction to turn. He has 6-foot-8 forward Rui Hachimura in at center against the Magic alongside Davis Bertans at the four. 

It doesn't sound like Wagner will be out long, but the Wizards will have to get creative in the meantime. And even if Wagner does return for their next game on Thursday, they will have to make it work against Joel Embiid of the Sixers, who is arguably the best five-man in today's game.

"It's been a challenging season," Brooks said. 

Bryant, 22, is second on the Wizards in points per game (13.9) and first in rebounds (8.5) and blocks (1.0). He is also their primary screen-setter. Replacing him with the personnel the Wizards have will not be easy.

Hachimura, it appears, will get the first crack at playing center. Wagner, though, could start there when he returns. And Bertans, at 6-foot-10, has the height to play down low despite his perimeter-oriented game.

Other than that, the Wizards may have to do something far outside-the-box like play Admiral Schofield or Isaac Bonga at the five. They will have no choice but to go small.

Bryant first felt discomfort in Sunday's game against the Clippers, the Wizards say. And he will be re-evaluated in three weeks.

Until then, the Wizards will have to get by without one of their most important players and with no ideal option to replace him.

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