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Suns G Bradley Beal ‘just happy to play’ during injury-plagued year

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Phoenix Suns guard Bradley Beal has been on a roller coaster of a season with the highest of highs met with the lowest of lows.

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Throughout his first year so far in the Valley, Beal has suffered injuries or discomfort to his back, ankle, nose and hamstring that forced him to miss 29 games. In 12 seasons (2013-24) in the NBA as a whole, Beal has only played a full 82-game season twice (2017-19) as his career has been riddled by various injuries.

Last night off of a back-to-back, the Missouri native led Phoenix in scoring with 31 points in 34 minutes against the Oklahoma City Thunder. On Saturday night, Phoenix faced the Houston Rockets.

Even though he got into a rhythm, he was placed on a minute restriction as the team and he continued to monitor a right ankle issue.

Suns head coach Frank Vogel spoke on the decision to limit Beal’s usage for the betterment of his health despite it being a difficult one.

“It’s one of my least favorite things to do is to coach a star player on a minutes restriction,” Vogel said. “He [Beal] wants to be out there, I want him to be out there. We have to be mindful of what we do. If we do anything irresponsible, then that costs us two or three more weeks, you don’t want to do that. I am not mad about the restriction. I think it is the right thing to do, but it is very frustrating to coach through.”

When Beal was asked by the media about Sunday night’s approach, he went more in-depth on how injuries have plagued his season, but is grateful for whenever he does get the opportunity to play the sport that he loves: basketball.

Beal’s Approach

Playing in just 32 games out of a possible 61 for Phoenix, Beal is fortunate to be in the position he is in – on the court and mentally this year.

“The year that I have had, I am just happy to be on the floor,” Beal said. “As crazy as it sounds, that’s my approach. I am just happy to be on the floor, I am just happy to play basketball and I told coach [Vogel] that the other day. I am just happy to play five minutes, 10 minutes, I just want to hoop. But when you’re in your competitive spot when you are out there – especially if you are rolling – you’re definitely like ‘Aw coach, damn the minutes, let’s roll.’ But if I were to have played 40 [minutes], who knows how my body would feel or my hamstring would feel.”

Coming over from the Washington Wizards in the summer, the Suns knew they were getting a player who possesses a load of talent who has dealt with a plethora of injury issues.

When looking back at how he coped when out of the lineup with injuries then compared to now, however, he believes he has changed his mindset drastically.

“I can’t be down on myself,” Beal said. “I can obviously be upset and obviously everyone is upset, I wish I can play the whole year. You can’t control everything in life. My biggest challenge this year has been patience – understanding you are not in control when your time is to hoop – and when you’re healthy, you are ready to go. It’s been a tough task to kind of grasp, but being in the league for so long and enduring similar things in years past, those have prepped me for now.”

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Reporter Alec Cipollini covers Phoenix Sports News for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account, @AlecCipollini

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