Bradley Beal says ‘it’s like pulling teeth to get me to sit down’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
There were a few moments of Wednesday's game against the Magic where it was clear that Bradley Beal wasn’t his usual self.
But there were also a few moments that it was tough to tell exactly which hip was bothering him.
In his return to the lineup after a five-game absence, Beal scored 26 points (which led all scorers) in his first game since March 27. He also played 30:22. But while the Wizards beat the Magic 131-116, there’s still a fair bit of reason to continue to monitor Beal’s play in the lineup.
“The medical term was meralgia paresthetica, so it’s a nerve inside your hip area,” Beal told reporters after the game. “The swelling and the inflammation from the fall just kind of compressed on the nerve and that was just shooting sharp pains down my leg the last week-and-a-half that kept me out of games, kept me out of doing a lot of stuff on the floor.”
His 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting came mostly through jumpers — he didn’t attempt one free throw all night long, the first time all season. Excluding the Pistons game on March 27, when he was injured, he attempted at least five free throws in all but four games this season.
"You saw I shot a lot of jumpers tonight, but I got an extra little set of pads on my hip," Beal said. "That's just me playing it safe, but I definitely know that the falls are gonna come. That's just the physicality of this game, so I know those moments are unavoidable but as best as I can I'm gonna try to control what I can control and try not to hit the ground too much."
He was a game-time decision but said he made the decision by himself to put himself back into the lineup — even if there was a bit of hesitancy on his end.
“It’s ultimately my decision, it’s nobody else’s,” Beal said. “Nobody knows my body better than me. Our training staff does an excellent job of just trusting me. Me being around them and gaining their trust, we all have the same mentality when it comes to me playing. There are times I’m going to be hard-headed and play probably when I shouldn’t. But with something like this they’re gonna possibly hold me out longer than what I really want, I’m definitely going to play it smart.”
In Beal’s absence, though, the Wizards struggled mightily from the offensive end of the floor.
They didn’t reach 100 points twice and went 1-4 as a team absent the league’s top scorer. With him back in the lineup, they scored the most points they had since March 18 against the Jazz.
“It’s tough, I don’t miss games,” Beal said. “It’s like pulling teeth to get me to sit down. Part of me tonight didn’t want to play, but I knew I had to play. It’s one of those things where you’ve got to push through eventually. I didn’t have any of the pains I had in the last week and a half. It’s a day-by-day thing, I can wake up tomorrow and be in excruciating pain for all I know.”
Therein lies the problem for Beal moving forward though: It’s unclear how the hip will respond to game action.
He said that it will be a day-by-day evaluation as to his status moving forward. He could wake up tomorrow feeling great or he could wake up with the same shooting pains that kept him out of the lineup for the previous five games.
Now, after a 26-point performance, it’s seemingly going to be a waiting game.
“I didn’t have any of the sharp pains that kept me out of the last five,” Beal said. “That was what was important to me, is making sure that I was comfortable and confident with my ability to move on both ends of the floor. I know the physicality and getting hit, that’s all part of it, but if I can control it as much as I can and feel good out there, then I’m good to go.”