WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, the NBA’s number two scorer, will not play in the 2019-20 season restart due to a right shoulder injury, the team announced Tuesday.
It’s another major setback for the Wizards, who will also enter the Orlando bubble this week without injured star forward John Wall and Latvian Davis Bertans, who opted out June 22 over injury worries.
“This was a difficult decision and one that I did not take lightly as the leader of this team,” Beal said.
“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.”
The Wizards, 24-40, have a tough fight to catch Brooklyn (30-34) or Orlando (30-35) to reach the playoffs from the eight games they will play in the Orlando bubble. Washington must pull within four games of the eighth seed to force play-in games.
Beal was nagged by a right rotator cuff injury early in the season and symptoms became worse during the NBA’s four-month hiatus. Beal began to rehabilitate the shoulder with plans on playing but together with team doctors decided sitting out was the best course.
“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,” Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said.
“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 he would have enough time to be ready to perform at the extremely high level we’re all accustomed to seeing.”
When the NBA season shut down March 11 after Utah’s Rudy Gobert was diagnosed with COVID-19, Beal was averaging 30.5 points per game, trailing only Houston’s James Harden at 36.7.
Beal was also averaging 4.2 rebounds and a career-best 6.1 assists. In February, he became only the sixth player in NBA history with back-to-back 50-point games, the first since the late Kobe Bryant in 2007.
Bertans, set to become a free agent, has undergone two major knee injuries but had a best-ever campaign with career highs of 15.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in his fourth NBA season.
© Agence France-Presse