Bradley Beal: Wolverine or Hugh Jackman?
Bradley Beal: by all accounts a lovely person, player, and long two-point shooter (well, less lovely on that last one). But there’s
this one thing I have to bring up: the dramatic injury reactions.
For those who missed it, Beal was carried off the floor at the end of overtime versus Orlando on Friday, March 14 with what appeared to be, based on Beal’s immediate and prolonged reaction, a serious injury.
With 50 seconds left in the extra period Beal jumped to contest Victor Oladipo’s driving shot and came down awkwardly, partially on John Wall’s foot, tweaking his right ankle. Beal went down in a heap, rolled on his side and was quickly tended to by head athletic trainer Eric Waters. He was unable to put any weight on his foot and was carried to the locker room by Otto Porter and Kevin Seraphin. Beal later said he initially thought his ankle was broken.
The collective angst among Washington fans was palpable. Hearts stopped. Stomachs dropped. Tweets were sent. Speculation of a Saturday MRI hit the internets.
But a funny thing happened on the way to Wizards hysteria … Beal was fine. It turns out he just sprained his ankle. Slightly. He walked out of the Orlando locker room with minimal swelling and woke up the next day pain free. He was in the starting lineup against Brooklyn less than 24 hours later with no ill effects.
This was not the first time Beal has been carried off the floor with an apparent serious injury only to play the next day. So, the question must be asked. Does Beal possess supernatural healing powers or does he react to injuries on a slightly different scale than the rest of us?
After the March 15 thrilling win over the Nets, I posed the question to some of Beal’s teammates. Knowing there is an unwritten code about commenting on a teammate’s injuries, I started with a seemingly innocuous inquiry to Garrett Temple.
Do you ever talk to Brad about the injury reactions he has on the floor?
Temple: [Laughs] Like telling him he was faking last night?
I quickly backpedaled, but Garrett cut me off.
Temple: No, I’m telling you I told him that. I told him, ‘Man, you faking’ when he came in today.
Ok. So I am not the only one who notices.
Temple: Yeah, we get on him about it a lot. When he goes down it looks like it’s a—knock on wood—like it’s a season-ending injury, and then he plays the next game.
Temple and his teammates have learned that you cannot judge the severity of Beal’s injuries based on his reaction alone.
Temple: Guys understand that we can’t take his injury by how he reacts to it. We have to wait to see what the doctors say and see the next day because Brad’s reactions are a little different than what you would expect for an injury of whatever sort it is.
What about the bench players who have to carry Beal off the court?
Temple: Yeah, teammates have to carry him off. Maybe it really does hurt at that point but …
Temple then revealed he is not the only teammate who can be skeptical of Beal’ on-court reactions.
Temple: Actually, Trevor Booker made a funny statement during the [Orlando] game right after [Beal] was on the ground. Booker said, ‘Aww, man. He’s good. He gonna get up and come hit a game-winning 3 for us.’
If I have learned anything from ace investigative reporter Steve Langford, it’s when you get a lead you follow the story. So I tracked down Booker for his thoughts on Beal’s miraculous 24-hour recovery.
Booker: [Laughs] We talked about it last night, me and Bradley did. It’s like when Paul Pierce got hurt in the game and got wheel-chaired off and came back. If we had more time Bradley would have done the same thing.
You mean if there were more than 50 seconds left in overtime he would have returned?
But the question still remains: How do you go from being carried off the floor one night to being perfectly fine the next day? Booker has the answer.
Booker: I think he’s like Wolverine. He has a fast recovery.
No hard-hitting piece of journalism is complete without giving the accused an opportunity to respond. So I asked Beal to address Booker’s not-so-serious allegations.
Beal: Yeah, he always thinks I’m faking everything. He thinks I’ll just pop up and just be fine because I take a lot of hard hits but Booker is always a big character.
There you have it. Superhero or not, let’s just be thankful that Beal continues to get up, no matter the severity of the injury.
So the next time the boy cries wolf, don’t totally ignore him, he could be just crying wolverine (and will probably be A-OK).
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