A hip contusion that caused Bradley Beal to miss the last five games may be more serious than was originally revealed.
Following his return to play Wednesday night in a 131-116 win over the Magic, Beal told NBC Sports Washington's Justin Kutcher and Drew Gooden that he's dealt with nerve issues in his hip as well.
"It's a little worse than a contusion, I got a little nerve stuff going on too," Beal said. "It's a matter of just every day, keeping the symptoms down and being able to dook it out. I feel if I can push through some things and be able to tolerate and move comfortably, then I'll give it a go."
Later on, Beal said the injury is called meralgia paresthetica, where a nerve inside one's hip area gets inflamed and causes shooting pain in their lower body.
"The swelling and inflammation from the fall just kinda compressed on the nerve and that was just sharp pains down my leg for the last week-and-a-half," he said. "It'll be a day-by-day thing, just keeping the nerve as calm as possible."
Beal was a game-time decision before each of his last five absences but was ultimately ruled out every time. Playing in pain, Beal stayed on the perimeter almost exclusively. He mostly took jumpers and wasn't able to get to the free-throw line all night.
After the game, the Wizards star confirmed his hip was on his mind a bit while playing.
"You saw I shot a lot of jumpers tonight, but I got an extra little set of pads on my hip," Beal said. "That's just me playing it safe, but I definitely know that the falls are gonna come. That's just the physicality of this game, so I know those moments are unavoidable but as best as I can I'm gonna try to control what I can control and try not to hit the ground too much."
As the Wizards navigate the final 20-plus games of their season, Beal's hip will be important to monitor. It'd be one thing if it's strictly pain tolerance for Beal, but risking the long-term health of the franchise player isn't the best idea if you're not in a playoff chase.
For now though, if Beal is cleared and feels good enough to play, he's going to play.
"We trust our performance staff and Brad, and they know what they're doing," Scott Brooks said after the game. "[Beal's] under a minutes restriction and it's good that he played right around that. Going forward, I'm hoping that he'll play every game from here on out. Obviously, when you have the best player out it puts a lot of stress on a lot of guys doing things and playing roles that they're not comfortable with."