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The Wizards must limit Bradley Beal’s minutes in light of his nagging leg injury

The Washington Wizards guard is scoring and assisting at career-high levels. But in a rebuilding season, there isn’t much reason for him to average over 36 minutes a game.

Washington Wizards v Detroit Pistons
Bradley Beal is putting up big numbers, but is that going to help the Wizards in the long term?
Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images

Bradley Beal is the face of the Washington Wizards. He is a two-time NBA All-Star and will likely earn a third bid this season since he is averaging a career-high 27.8 point and 6.7 assists per game.

And few will question that Beal is a warrior on the court because he is averaging 36.6 minutes a game, third overall in the NBA. In an era where more NBA teams and players are closely looking at “load management,” Beal just goes out there and gives his all every night.

That said, Beal only played 24 minutes last night in Washington’s loss to the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night. He did not play in the fourth quarter due to lower right leg soreness.

While Scott Brooks is right to say that Beal should sit out a remainder of a game if the Wizards were down by a large margin, it is also clear to most that this team isn’t going to win many games this season. They’re only competing for a lottery pick.

And since Beal has a minor injury, is that also partly to blame for his poor efficiency? He’s only making 43.6 percent of his shots overall and a career-low 31.7 percent from the three-point line.

The Wizards are already without their franchise point guard John Wall for the season (barring a major change) as he heals from an Achilles rupture last February. They cannot afford to lose Beal to a significant injury or it will set the Wizards back for even longer. Alan Jenkins implied it in yesterday’s recap, but the Wizards must limit Beal’s minutes. Ideally, he shouldn’t be playing more than 30 minutes a game, and he should sit out some games, such as on the second game of back-to-backs or some other way.

Yes, I get that players like to keep playing. But the Wizards, at least for the moment, want to label this season as a “rebuild-on-the-fly” period rather than a “rebuild-from-scratch” one. Assuming that this season is the former, they must keep Beal healthy. Even though Beal’s instincts may be to play through injury or grind out games in losing efforts, it’s better to play it safe with his health.