The Washington Wizards will sit All-Star guard Bradley Beal for the next three games, and re-evaluate his hamstring injury in one week.
The Wizards revealed Beal has a low-grade left hamstring injury, but sent him for an MRI as a precaution. Beal sustained the injury on Tuesday night in a loss against the Milwaukee Bucks. He exited the game in the second quarter with tightness in his left hamstring, and never returned.
“It’s tough, it’s frustrating,” Beal told The Athletic. “It’s tough, we were playing good ball, too.”
The Wizards were 10-7 in mid-November, before their season abruptly went off the rails. They survived a tumultuous stretch in which they won once in a 14-game span, and lost 10 games in a row.
The Wizards looked like they finally got back on track shortly before Christmas with five consecutive wins, including impressive victories against the Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, and Milwaukee Bucks. However, their five-game winning streak came to a halt on the same night Beal suffered a new hamstring injury.
With a 17-22 record, the Wizards find themselves on the playoff bubble. They’re currently in 11th place in the Eastern Conference and would not qualify for the Play-In Tournament if the season ended today.
The Wizards call the Southeast Division their home, but it might be one of the weakest divisions in the NBA with only one team that has a winning record. The Miami Heat hold down first place at 20-19, and lead the third-place Wizards by three games.
The Heat are the betting favorite to win consecutive Southeast Division titles at -210 odds. The Atlanta Hawks (18-20) are +210 odds, followed by the Wizards at +700 odds. The Orlando Magic (14-24) and injury-riddled Charlotte Hornets (10-29) are among the five worst teams in the NBA. Both teams are long shots to win the division with the Magic at +8000, and the Hornets an eye-popping +30000 odds.
As one of the numerous bubble teams, the Wizards are +115 odds to qualify for Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament, according to an NBA Playoffs prop bet by DraftKings.
The Wizards are finishing up a four-game road trip with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday evening. They return home to Washington, D.C. where they’ll play five out of their next six games at home, with a quick one-game jaunt to New York City to take on the Knicks. At the end of the month, the Warriors embark on five-game roadtrip.
Double-Whammy Hammy for BB
It’s been a tumultuous month for Beal who has been dealing with injuries to both hamstrings. He missed nine games over the last four weeks with a right hamstring injury.
Beal and the Wizards hoped this would be a bounce-back season after he sat out the second half of last season while recovering from a wrist injury and subsequent surgery.
Beal, the Wizards’ leading scorer, averages 22.9 points, 5.2 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game in 24 games this season.
Center Kristaps “The Unicorn” Porzingis has been plagued by injuries most of his career. However, the Unicorn has been healthy and started 11 more games than Beal this season. Without Beal in the lineup over the next week, Porzingis and forward Kyle Kuzma will have to pick up the scoring slack.
It’s rare to see an NBA team with three players averaging 21 or more points per game, yet that’s the case with the Wizards. The Washington power trio consisting of Beal (22.9 ppg), Porzingis (22.2 ppg), and Kuzma (21.3) combined for 66.4 points per game this season.
After those three big guns, there’s a big drop off in scoring. Sixth man Rui Hachimura is the only other member of the Wizards averaging double digits with 13.5 ppg.
Beal missed 15 total games this season, and the Wizards went 7-8 without their top playmaker.
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