While the Wizards welcomed star guard Bradley Beal back after a one-game injury absence, they saw key bench player Raul Neto leave with a shoulder injury late in their loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.
Neto was at the top of the key when he bumped sides with Nets forward Kevin Durant. Neto immediately dropped to the ground holding his left shoulder, wincing in obvious pain. He then walked gingerly to the locker room alongside members of the training staff. Afterward, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. didn't have any information on the injury, just that he would be further evaluated.
Losing Neto would be a big blow to the Wizards' bench, as despite having added depth this offseason, he plays an important role that would be difficult to replace. Neto is a combo guard in the second unit and was averaging 13.0 points through two games entering Monday.
While the Wizards await news on the severity, they can be encouraged by Beal's return from a right hip contusion, even if it featured a rough shooting night. Beal led the team with 19 points on 8-for-22 shooting from the field and 3-for-13 from three. The Wizards shot just 34.7% as a team, including 23.1% from three.
Beal only missed one game, which the Wizards won against the Pacers, but he's their best player and top scorer, having led the Eastern Conference in points per game each of the past two seasons.
Beal himself was pleased with how Monday went.
"I felt good. I felt really good. There were no limitations. I didn't get hit on it, so I'm good," he said.
Beal did not operate on a minutes restriction. He played 32 minutes, the most on the team, and could have gone longer if the game was close. The Wizards lost by 14 points and emptied their bench for the final four minutes of the fourth quarter.
Unseld Jr. saw a guy who looked healthy, but will need some time to find his groove again after not playing a game for four days.
"He looks fine. I mean, obviously, he didn't have his legs tonight and a lot of his shots were short. But those are makeable shots for him. He's going to make his share of those," Unseld Jr. said.
"I'm not overreacting to a tough shooting night. He had one or two of those in the preseason. He's a big-time scorer. Once he finds his rhythm, he's going to be really good."
The Wizards have their first back-to-back of the season coming up with the Celtics on Wednesday and the Hawks on Thursday. They play in Boston, then return home to Washington.
While Brooklyn was a big test for them as one of the best teams in the East, so will their next two opponents. Whether Neto can play remains to be seen, but Beal appears to be good to go from here.