You could feel a fan base collectively hold their breath on Friday night while Bradley Beal rolled on the Footprint Center floor in pain. Beal, who had missed a total of 19 games due to issues with his lower back, was in his second game back with the Phoenix Suns. He came around a screen, took a three-pointer, but tweaked his ankle upon coming back to earth on the foot of The New York Knicks’ Donte DiVincenzo.
He instantly went down, writhing in pain. His fans and teammates empathized with him.
Beal has fought to get back from his injury, emotionally stating last week, “Honestly, I probably would have played and been hard-headed probably through the process if I didn’t listen to my teammates.”
“They more or less gave me more confidence, just made me feel better about the situation. It sucks to be hurt. Nobody wants to be hurt. I hate to be in that position, but to hear from K and hear it from Book, ‘Take your time. Make sure you’re 100%. We got it. We need you down the stretch’. That made me feel awesome.”
And there he was. Lying on the hardwood. Fighting tears. Maybe not from pain, but certainly from disappointment.
Frank Vogel said after the game, which was an embarrassing loss at the hands of the Knicks, that x-rays were negative, but that Beal would miss some time. Shams Charnia confirmed that on Saturday.
Phoenix Suns star Bradley Beal is likely to miss a few weeks with his right ankle injury, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Good news for Beal is testing showed no major ankle damage, but it's another setback for Beal after the scary landing on a Knicks closeout Friday night. pic.twitter.com/a7Z8MA71Ue— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 17, 2023
“Super unfortunate. Been waiting on him to get back. Uncontrollable incident. Hate to see it,” Devin Booker said following the Beal injury.
“Yeah, it sucks,” Kevin Durant added. “Hopefully he gets better.”
The time has come for the Suns to learn how to win without Beal. In his 19 games missed this season, Phoenix has gone 11-8. If they want to compete in the Western Conference for more than a Play-In spot in the postseason, they are going to have to do better.
In the meantime, get better, Bradley. The fan base supports you and feels for you. It was an unfortunate injury and another reminder that when you play in Phoenix, funky stuff happens. It’s the sub-heading of the title to our franchise’s history book.