The news on Bradley Beal's injury is here. The Wizards' guard has suffered another stress injury in his right fibula and will miss a minimum of two weeks, at which point he will be re-evaluated, the team announced.
This injury is in the same leg, but a slightly different spot. The Wizards say this one is in his "proximal right fibula." Last year's injury, which sidelined him for three months carrying over from the end of the season to the summer, was in his "distal right fibula."
It's not immediately clear who will start in Beal's absence. Randy Wittman could go with Garrett Temple in the starting lineup, as he did when Beal was hurt last season. We may also see more lineups with Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza together on the wings, and one would think Glen Rice Jr. may finally get a legitimate shot to earn a rotation spot.
The news calls into question the workload the Wizards are asking him to shoulder early in the season. Beal is currently leading the NBA in minutes played per game, averaging a whopping 40.2 per contest. He's also shouldering a heavy load in those minutes due to the team's offensive style and all the running up and down the floor with Wall. Beal travels 2.9 miles per game, tops in the NBA, and is 12th in the NBA in total miles traveled this season, according to public SportVU data. All that for a player that had his offseason abbreviated because of this same leg injury.
Beal has also admitted that fatigue has sometimes caused his inconsistent shooting this year. Here's what he said after Saturday's win over the Knicks, via Thomas' recorder (emphasis mine):
"Sometimes I can feel my legs aren't in it. Or a few minor adjustments here or there. Or all because of fatigue. And sometimes, it just doesn't go in," Beal said.
We obviously don't know for sure if Beal's usage caused the injury to become reaggravated, and we have to keep in mind that practice time, which we don't know much about, contributes too. It's also worth noting that a player's physical condition has a lot to do with what happens between games and a training staff's tactics, which we also don't know about.
But it's certainly fair to question the wisdom of him playing him so many minutes while coming off a serious leg injury. This team has stretched its starters very thin recently, thanks to roster construction and a coach trying to follow a playoff edict from above. There's a major risk in doing that.
The Wizards appear to have avoided serious injury this time, but they may not be so lucky with Beal or other players if this strategy keeps up.