By Stephen Whyno/The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Wizards leading scorer Bradley Beal won’t take part in the restart of the NBA season because of a right rotator cuff injury.
The team announced Beal’s status Tuesday before traveling to Orlando. Beal’s absence makes it even more challenging for Washington to qualify for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
“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,” general manager Tommy Sheppard said of the former UF standout.
Washington will also be without forward Davis Bertans, who decided to opt out of playing as a pending free agent, and injured guard John Wall. The team ruled out Wall traveling to Orlando at the start of team workouts.
Beal averaged 30.5 points a game this season, almost twice as much as Bertans, the Wizards’ No. 2 scorer. The 27-year-old was preparing to play, even while the decision was up in the air.
“I was loving my game this year and how I was playing towards the end of the year,” Beal said last week. “It’s more or less going to be a decision that comes down to the medical staff and I, just because of our precautions and just coming back from being zero to 100. Then I had some nagging stuff at the end of the year we’re trying to clean up, too.”
That team said that was shoulder discomfort Beal experienced early in the season that worsened over time. The decision to hold him out of play at Walt Disney World was made in full consultation with chief of athletic care and performance Daniel Medina, orthopedist Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, Beal and his representatives.
“This was a difficult decision and one that I did not take lightly as the leader of this team,” Beal said in a statement. “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 were 24-40 and in ninth place in the East, 5.5 games back of eighth-place Orlando.