When Bradley Beal went down four minutes into the game against the New York Knicks on December 15, it looked bad. He writhed in pain on the court and instantly was ruled out for the remainder of the game. The Phoenix Suns would go on to lose that game and have lost 2 of their last 3 games since.
The extent of the injury wasn’t as bad as it looked, thankfully, but was still going to cost the three-time All-Star some time. The x-rays returned negative and no structural damage had occurred. But alas, time would be missed, with a target of early January for revaluation.
Phoenix has certainly struggled without Beal, and even though he has played in just 6 games this season, his offensive presence is missed. The team is in a tailspin as they try to create an identity.
Beal opened up to Andscape’s Marc J. Spears about what it has been like since the injury occurred. Beal has been working on a diary piece this season with Spears which has given us insight into what the transition from the Washington Wizards to the Phoenix Suns has been like.
Candid and personal, it is a great read.
Bradley Beal diary #3: “This year has been a little rocky.” Phoenix #Suns guard opens up about his injuries, a potential early return, the #Wizards possible move to Virginia, @DianaTaurasi & brittneygriner, #NBA #Christmas much & more. @andscape video: https://t.co/4zYDUEABw3 pic.twitter.com/9SbDZGGqUw— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) December 23, 2023
“When I first got hurt, I honestly thought I broke my ankle,” Beal said in the piece. “I thought I broke my foot. It was honestly the worse I’ve ever sprained it or tweaked. And it’s weird watching the replay. I can see step-by-step how it happened.”
“In hindsight, it is not as crazy as it looked. It definitely hurt like crap. Definitely looked ugly. Swelled up a little bit. But I’m in a really good space right now. A lot better than what I thought, that’s for sure.”
Good news to hear.
We’ve seen him courtside during pregame against his former team interacting and moving. Beal is progressing nicely, and we’ve seen him hoisting up shots at the Suns’ practice facility. It wasn’t as bad as we initially thought.
The Suns play the Dallas Mavericks on Christmas Night, a prime-time event on one of the most important dates on the NBA calendar. It is something Beal is hyper-aware of.
“There is no better feeling than playing on Christmas, man,” Beal said. “As a kid growing up, this is what you dreamed of. Opening your gifts and then being able to watch games on Christmas. That was really cool. So now I have that opportunity to play again. This is nothing like it, man. I always enjoy it.”
“In the back of my head, I pray I’m ready for Christmas because my boys love to watch me play.”
Now that would be a Christmas miracle. Christmas Day would mark 10 days since the injury to his ankle occurred. Given the soft hands the Suns have utilized with their stars when it comes to injury this year, it is doubtful that they would suddenly change course and philosophy in rushing him back.
“I know we got a little timeline out there, but I don’t I think it will be before that,” he added. As much as he wants to play on Christmas, despite the struggles of the team, it is best for the long-term health of Beal and the team that he doesn’t.
Get well, Brad. And Merry Christmas.