Wizards

Bradley Beal set to return, faces minutes limit for career

Wizards

Bradley Beal likely will available for the Wizards when they play the Milwaukee Bucks tonight at Verizon Center, ending a streak of 16 consecutive missed games, as he has been cleared to return.

"The trainers and doctors gave me the OK," Beal said after morning shootaround. "It's just a matter of me being confident in myself and my body."

Beal would come off the bench and be on a minutes restriction after a stress reaction in his lower right leg. It's a dark spot on the MRI that's a precursor to a season-ending fracture, and it's the fourth year in a row that Beal has developed the reaction on different spots on the same bone.

"I wouldn't doubt it, especially if I'm on a minutes restriction," Beal said of being a reserve while coach Randy Wittman continues to start Garrett Temple. "Witt will forget how many minutes I'm out there. He'll just leave me out there. We've been rolling with what we have now. I'm not mad at that at all. Whatever it's going to take for us to win."

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It's an overuse injury that has plagued Beal each season since his rookie year when Beal played through a high right ankle sprain that caused the first stress reaction -- a referral injury, actually -- first reported by CSNmidatlantic.com on April 3, 2013.

 

This season, Beal is averaging a career-high 36.5 minutes, which is sixth highest in the league if he qualified for games played, in 17 appearances. Even after he gets back into the starting lineup and playing starter's minutes, Beal's time has to be managed.

"Probably, especially with the way my body works," Beal said about having his minutes capped at a maximum. "It doesn't want to listen to me so I got to as much as I can take care of it, be smart about it moving forward through the rest of my career that's probably something that's going to happen every year."

With Beal's injury history is a long one, a person with knowledge of the situation told CSN a few weeks ago that number will be 35 minutes.

Beal, who was with the team on their two-game road trip that ended with a 114-100 win at the Chicago Bulls on Monday, has been working out privately to get back. He told CSN on Saturday that he'd be back as early as a week after last playing Dec. 9.

"I'll work about before the game, again, and see how I feel," Beal said, who has taken more time to return from this one than last season. "I have no pain in my leg. All the symptoms are pretty good right now. Just hoping I can stay on the right track and continue to progress.

"Last year it happened later on in the season. This year it was more early. There was a bigger risk that it may occur again. ... Just making sure I was taking my time, making sure everything was completely 100 percent before I step back out here."

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