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Wizards appear ready to start easing back Bradley Beal

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Wizards appear ready to start easing back Bradley Beal

If all goes according to plan with Bradley Beal, the Wizards are "hopeful" that the shooting guard will begin non-basketball activities this week.

Beal was diagnosed Dec. 11 with what the Wizards called "the beginnings of a stress reaction" in his lower right leg for the fourth time in his fourth NBA season.

"Everything looks good," coach Randy Wittman said Sunday. "He feels good. ... Maybe he'll start doing something. Obviously, nothing on the court."

In 17 games, Beal was averaging 19.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 36.5 minutes. 

Beal will be on a minutes restriction when he returns. In the past he has come off the bench and gradually worked his way back into the starting lineup. But sometimes, Beal has to sit out late in close games because he started and hit his limit.

Is there any chance that keeping Beal on the bench as a reserve to have him in those situations? 

"No, because we're going to have to control his minutes some when he first comes back like we have every year," Wittman said. "We never had to deal with the problem again after getting a couple weeks of limited minutes.

"I think it's just a freak thing that's happening. I'm not one to look negatively like that."

The Wizards play a home game vs. the L.A. Clippers on Monday and Wednesday at the Toronto Raptors. Beal could be doing non-basketball activities by mid-week. 

MORE: John Wall says trailing Kyrie Irving in All-Star votes a 'joke'

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Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard out against Wizards

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USA Today

Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard out against Wizards

The Wizards will catch a break on Saturday night when they host the Toronto Raptors in the second game of their regular season, as Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard is being held out due to rest.

Leonard, who has been dominant so far for the 2-0 Raptors, is being limited in back-to-backs after he missed 73 games last season due to a quadriceps injury. The Raptors played the night before against the Celtics.

With Leonard out, the Raptors will likely rely on C.J. Miles and O.G. Anunoby at the small forward position. Shooting guard Delon Wright is also out with a shoulder injury.

Though Leonard and Wright are out of the mix, Toronto still has plenty of talent including All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. Lowry is averaging 21 points, seven assists and 3.5 rebounds through two games. 

Serge Ibaka has been their third-leading scorer with 15 points per game to go along with 6.5 rebounds. They also acquired Danny Green in the Leonard deal and he's off to a strong start with 12.5 points and five rebounds per game.

Leonard's absence may be noticed more on the defensive end, as he is one of the best in the NBA on the perimeter. That could make things a bit easier for Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr.

The Wizards and Raptors next play on Nov. 23. That game is in Toronto.

 

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Three things to watch for in Wizards' first matchup with Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors

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USA Today Sports

Three things to watch for in Wizards' first matchup with Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors

John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

Here are three things to watch...

Will Howard play?

Once again, we await word from head coach Scott Brooks on the status of Dwight Howard. Howard, who missed all of the Wizards' preseason with a piriformis injury, was a gametime decision for the opener on Thursday. He ended up not playing, but appeared very close to finally making his debut.

Saturday night could be a different story, though we won't know until shortly before gametime. The Wizards' training staff will evaluate him pregame and make the call. If he can't go, Ian Mahinmi will get the nod as starter like he did against Miami.

Need more Otto

Though it wasn't the reason why the Wizards lost to the Heat, it certainly stood out in the box score how Otto Porter Jr. went without a three-point attempt in the opener. Porter finished third in three-point percentage last season with a 44.1 clip. He simply has to be more involved in the offense.

It will be interesting to see what adjustment the Wizards make to create more opportunities for Porter, and how Porter responds. All parties involved insist it is a mix of several factors, including a need for Porter to simply be more aggressive. That won't be easy against a tough Raptors defense, but expect Porter to get up plenty of threes in this one.

Leonard is out

This game was set to be the first matchup between the Wizards and the revamped Raptors, who added perennial All-NBA selection Kawhi Leonard in the biggest trade of the offseason. But Leonard, it turns out, will not play.

Toronto is resting Leonard, who played in only nine games all of last season due to a quadriceps injury. It's understandable, given the Raptors played the night before against the tough Boston Celtics.

With Leonard out, All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry will be a big focus. They also got guard Danny Green in the Leonard deal and he's off to an excellent start. He's averaging 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals while shooting 50 percent from three so far. Getting him in the trade was a very underrated move by Toronto.

 

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