After being ruled out for at least the next three weeks as of Friday, more details have come to light as to what Bradley Beal’s back injury actually is.
Beal missed the first seven games of the season due to this back issue, which he suffered in the preseason, then came back for the next three. However, he re-aggravated the injury in the first half of last Sunday’s loss to the Thunder, but played through it the rest of the game.
He was a late scratch before Wednesday’s 133-115 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. After the game, coach Frank Vogel said that Beal woke up with “residual” back tightness, and they were hoping it would loosen up for the game. The team did not make the decision to not play him until the one-hour mark before the game.
Then, two days later, the team released the below statement regarding his back.
INJURY UPDATE: The Phoenix Suns today announced that guard Bradley Beal will be out and re-evaluated in three weeks as he continues to rehab a low back strain. This timeline was determined following further evaluation and consultation on his injury.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) November 17, 2023
Today, The Athletic’s Shams Charania gave an update as to what exactly Beal’s injury is.
“I’m told he’s been dealing with a disk issue in his back,” Charania said on FanDuel’s “Run It Back” show. “He’s been gutting through it. He suffered it in training camp. Even at some points, he’s dealt with nerve irritation going down his legs from his back … They’ve had multiple MRI’s, multiple exams, and there’s been nothing structurally wrong. There’s been no major issue, but this is a back. And any time you have a back issue, you deal with discomfort, you deal with tightness on a day-to-day basis.
“And so the Suns hope that within these three weeks, Bradley will be able to get better and hopefully make a return at some point in December. But for the Suns, this was really about instead of him being day-to-day literally every day and trying to push through it. Any given day he could be 60%, he could be 70% and try to play. The next day, he could be 30% and try to go through shootaround and not play. Instead of going through the back and forth, the Suns made the decision basically to shut Bradley Beal down. For them, they’re not playing for November/December, they’re playing to try to be into May and June.”
"Instead of going through the back and forth, the Suns made the decision to shut Bradley Beal down."@ShamsCharania on Bradley Beal, who due to injury, we may not see play for weeks. pic.twitter.com/Vj2XVrdeQZ
— Run It Back (@RunItBackFDTV) November 20, 2023
As suspected, it appears the Suns are erring on the side of caution to try to get Beal 100% healthy before he’s on the court.
The Suns have won all three of the games Beal has missed during this latest stretch with Devin Booker back healthy.
Since his return, Beal had been playing on a minutes restriction, but still averaged 17.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 28.7 minutes per game.
Now, the Suns will try to do whatever they can to have him healthy and ready to go.