The Wizards announced Tuesday that Beal has experienced shoulder discomfort since early in the season, and the symptoms worsened during the NBA’s hiatus that started in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Bradley did everything possible to be ready to play, but after closely monitoring his individual workouts we came to the conclusion that it was best for him to sit out the upcoming games in Orlando and avoid the risk of further injury,” Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said in a statement. “Although he was able to play through the majority of the season with the injury, the layoff from March until now did not leave any of us feeling comfortable that he would have enough time to be ready to perform at the extremely high level we are all accustomed to seeing and agreed that not participating in the games in Orlando was the right decision.”
The Wizards (24-40) said they will travel to Orlando, Florida, without Beal, their best player and the NBA’s second-leading scorer.
“This was a difficult decision and one that I did not take lightly as the leader of this team,” Beal said. “I wanted to help my teammates compete for a playoff spot in Orlando, but also understand that this will be best for all of us in the long term. I appreciate the support of my teammates, the fans and the entire organization and look forward to returning next season to continue the progress we have made.”
Wizards coach Scott Brooks had said Monday that Beal was undecided whether to play but was expected to travel with the team. Brooks added that Beal looked terrific in workouts.
Washington, which owns the worst record of the 22 teams playing at the Walt Disney World resort, will resume its season without three of its best players. Star point guard John Wall is out for the season with an Achilles injury, and second-leading scorer Davis Bertans opted out of returning to play.
The Wizards are currently in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, trailing Orlando (30-35) by 5.5 games for the eighth spot and Brooklyn (30-34) by six games for the seventh spot.
Beal, 27, averaged a career-high 30.5 points and 6.1 assists this season, trailing only Houston’s James Harden (34.4) for the league lead in scoring. Beal became just the sixth player in NBA history to post back-to-back 50-point games when he had 53 points at Chicago on Feb. 23 and 55 points against Milwaukee on Feb. 24.