Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal will not participate in the NBA’s 2019-20 season restart in Orlando due to a right rotator cuff injury.
The decision was made in full consultation with Wizards Chief of Athlete Care & Performance Daniel Medina, Wizards Orthopedist Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, Beal and his representation.
“Bradley did everything possible to be ready to play, but after closely monitoring his individual workouts we came to the conclusion that it was best for him to sit out the upcoming games in Orlando and avoid the risk of further injury,” said Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard. “Although he was able to play through the majority of the season with the injury, the layoff from March until now did not leave any of us feeling comfortable that he would have enough time to be ready to perform at the extremely high level we are all accustomed to seeing and agreed that not participating in the games in Orlando was the right decision.”
Per the Washington Post: “General Manager Tommy Sheppard said in an online news conference Tuesday that he does not think surgery is an option for Beal. Sheppard believes the guard initially injured himself during a game in Phoenix in November but was adamant that the injury won’t be a long-term problem. Sheppard was confident that on a normal offseason timeline Beal would have been ready to play, but having to be game-ready after such a long hiatus amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and then a short period of preparation posed issues.”
Beal experienced discomfort with his shoulder early in the season and worked with the team’s medical and performance staff to manage the injury. The symptoms worsened over the course of the hiatus and he began to rehabilitate the injury with the intent of returning to play. He will not travel with the team to Orlando and will continue his rehabilitation process over the summer.
“This was a difficult decision and one that I did not take lightly as the leader of this team,” said Beal. “I wanted to help my teammates compete for a playoff spot in Orlando, but also understand that this will be best for all of us in the long term. I appreciate the support of my teammates, the fans and the entire organization and look forward to returning next season to continue the progress we have made.”
At the postponement of the season on March 12, Beal was averaging 30.5 points per game (to go along with a career-high 6.1 assists), trailing only James Harden’s 36.7 points per game. He also led the NBA in points per game since January 1 at 33.6. Beal tallied back-to-back 50-point nights on February 23 (53 at Chicago) and 24 (55 vs. Milwaukee), becoming just the sixth player in NBA history with back-to-back 50-point nights and the first since Kobe Bryant in 2007. Beal has recorded 50 20-plus-point games, 31 30-plus-point games, 10 40-plus-point games and two 50-plus-point games, placing him in the top three in the league in each category.
With his current averages of 30.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game on 45.5% shooting from the field, Beal joins Stephen Curry, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Michael Jordan as the only players to post averages of at least 30.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game on 45.0% or better shooting in a single season since 1975. Beal scored 25-or-more points in 21-straight games from January 20 – March 6, the longest streak in franchise history and the second-longest NBA streak in the last 10 seasons. During the streak, Beal passed Jeff Malone for second place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list.