Unfortunately for Bradley Beal, he has what the Wizards are calling "the beginnings of a stress reaction in his lower right fibula." That'll keep him out at least two weeks until his re-evaluation and he'll miss at least seven more games.
Beal's injury history, a long and complex one since he was taken No. 3 overall in the 2012 draft:
- The spot is low on the non-weight bearing bone, the same vicinity of his last stress reaction Feb. 11. A reaction is a dark spot on the MRI that's a precursor to a fracture. This one is smaller, hence called "the beginnings" than that one. That also means the current reaction is the smallest of the four. His initial stress reaction was high on the same bone.
- When Beal returns, he'll be on a minutes restriction which is standard. Every time he's had a reaction, his minutes limit has been capped at 30.
- Garrett Temple or Gary Neal will start for Beal. Because the Wizards' issues have been more defensive than on offense, Temple likely keeps the starting role while Neal's scoring gives the bench more pop.
- This is part of the reason why the Wizards have hesitated to commit to Beal long-term with a multi-year extension. If it's fully guaranteed and his injuries get worse, there'd be no out. At the very least, they needed an early-termination clause. Financially speaking, the Wizards were wise to wait because they'd have fewer dollars available under the salary cap in 2016 by signing Beal to an extension last month. Even if they eventually opt to max him, by waiting there would be more money allotted because they could exercise Bird rights to retain their own free agent after filling all of the other holes on the roster that could be as many as seven. Bookkeeping-wise, the Wizards had to wait because it was the smart thing to do regardless of Saturday's news.
- Beal's season has been on the downturn since he returned from a shoulder injury on Nov. 21. He was 74 of 181 shooting, or 40.8%, in 11 games since then. On threes, he was 21 of 61, or 34.4%.
- What does this mean for Beal when he hits the market as a restricted free agent? His health is a major liability and if the offers aren't as generous as he expected, the Wizards could retain him at a lower price. And, of course, since he's restricted and not unrestricted, they have the first right of refusal. The way Beal's season began, when he was 52 of 107 shooting for 48.5%., including 16 of 34 from three-point range for 47%., he held the leverage as he looked like a lock to receive a max offer. Not anymore.