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Beal admits he's cheering for Cardinals


Beal admits he's cheering for Cardinals

Wizards rookie Bradley Beal has a lot to learn if he hopes to cultivate fans in D.C.

Following Wednesdays practice at Verizon Center the 19-year-old rookie was seen leaving the arena holding a red St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap.

Asked if he was serious about wearing the hat in public, what with the Cardinals and Nationals facing each other in the NLDS, Beal smiled.

I havent gotten any negative things said to me, he said. I guess Ill keep wearing it until I do. I was thinking about going to Game 3 today, but we had practice at the same time.

When Beal was told the Cardinals already had a 5-0 lead en route to an 8-0 win he quipped, Its over.

Beal, it should be pointed out, is from St. Louis and attended Chaminade College Prep. He will make his Verizon Center debut Thursday night when the Wizards face the New York Knicks in their only home preseason game.

Hes understanding the rigors, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said of the No. 3 pick in the 2012 draft. Theyre at a point when theyre sore and beat up a little bit.

But New Yorks coming in tomorrow and theyre going to come after you. Its a step.
Theres a whole process of learning. The quickness, the speed. The days and the games just keep coming. Theres no rest now and thats the biggest thing from college. You might play one or two games a week and when we get going here its a splurge.

Beal, who scored 18 points in his preseason debut in Charlotte, said he was surprised at the offensive prowess of the Hornets Ben Gordon in Sundays preseason game. He said hes ready for opponents trying to exploit the fact hes a rookie.

I think its more physical. Its hardly ever verbal, he said. When you play someone like
Kevin Garnett, hes going to say something. Its more mental than physical because they can get in your head without even saying anything. Just based off how they play you, how smart they are.

Gordon always shot fakes first, and he go around you or hell get you in the air and draw a foul, he said. But the thing is, he jumps high on his jump shot. He even blocked one of my shots. Hes a sneaky athlete. I mean, hes smart. After watching film on him, next time, Ill try to get the best of him.

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Ted Leonsis maintains optimism amid harsh reality of John Wall injury

Ted Leonsis maintains optimism amid harsh reality of John Wall injury

CAPITAL ONE ARENA -- It might be quite a while before we see John Wall on the court playing for the Wizards again.

It was already well-known Wall will miss extended time as he recovers from a ruptured Achilles tendon, a rehab that usually takes at least 11 months. But it is starting to sound more and more like he won't play in the 2019-20 season at all.

Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis shared that harsh reality on Monday during a press conference at Capital One Arena.

"Our highest-paid player, our five-time All-Star, may not play at all next year. He probably won't play at all next year," Leonsis said.

If Wall follows the general timeline for the surgery, he could come back sometime early in 2020. A 12-month recovery would have him return in early February.

If Wall missed all of next season, he would return to start the 2020-21 campaign after a 20-month recovery. That would be nearly double the rehab time many players have taken for the same injury over the years. He would be 30 years old by then.

But Wall and the Wizards have reason to be extra patient. He is entering the first season of a four-year, $170 million supermax contract. Punting the first year, even if he is making $38 million, could be worth it in the long run if it means he returns to his All-Star form.

The Wizards are also likely to have a gap year of sorts anyways. They retooled their roster with young, inexperienced players. The odds they make the playoffs this season are lower than they have been in years. The Wizards are taking the long view and they know getting Wall's rehab right is paramount.

Leonsis and team officials currently get daily reports on Wall's progress. After making the supermax investment, they are taking extra measures to ensure he is holding up his end of the bargain. The Wizards closely monitor his weight and have a rotation of physical therapists working with him every day.

If it were up to Wall, he would be more likely to return next season. The team is the side taking extra caution.

"Trust me, nobody wants to get back to the court more than John Wall," GM Tommy Sheppard told NBC Sports Washington. 

"But I've tried to manage this with him and say there is no calendar or clock that is going to tell you to come back. You're going to come back when you're 100 percent healthy. Anybody who has watched him in the playoffs play with broken hands and all of the aches and pains he's had over the years and he still showed up and played at a high, high level. You know you need to monitor him a little more than most. That's the kind of player that is going to try to sneak back on the court any time he can."

What Leonsis said publicly has been the belief behind the scenes in the Wizards organization for quite some time. They are preparing for next season as if he won't play, 

"We have to see if John Wall comes back and how he looks and how he plays," Leonsis told NBC Sports Washington. "If John Wall can come back at 80 percent the year after [in 2020-21], I would be really happy because then we would have a great, great backcourt."


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SPOILER ALERT! Wizards make appearance in New York Times crossword on Sunday

SPOILER ALERT! Wizards make appearance in New York Times crossword on Sunday

Fans of both crossword puzzles and the Washington Wizards had a leg-up when completing the New York Times crossword puzzle on Sunday. 

The clue: "Wizards, but not witches."

The answer: 7 letters, "NBATEAM." 

This isn't the first time famous crosswords have included sports-related clues. The Washington Post and LA Times have used Bobby Orr as an answer many of times (trust me, we always have a half-finished crossword puzzle hiding somewhere in our living room). 

But athletes aren't the only answers to clues. Remember when the Post's Isabelle Khurshudyan revealed the Washington Capitals' "cult of crossword men" back in 2016?

The New York Times even published a list of the top-10 sports names to know for crossword fanatics everywhere. 

Just further proof that sports continue to permeate every aspect of life.