- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 15, 2014

Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal is getting close to returning to practice for the first time since the preseason.

Beal had surgery to repair a non-displaced fracture of the scaphoid bone in his left (non-shooting) wrist Oct. 12. He was projected to miss six weeks.

Wizards coach Randy Wittman said Beal could be back at practice Monday for the 7-2 Wizards.

“He’s going to be able to get out on the floor,” Wittman said. “What is he going to be able to do (when) he gets out there? In terms of, he’s free to catch and shoot and dribble and contact, but then, if he’s got any soreness — which, I’m thinking there will probably be a little just from it being six weeks in some kind of cast — this is a day-by-day thing.

“I can’t tell you Friday, he’s going to be ready. He’s got to get on the floor. He’s got to get his timing. The last thing we want is to throw him out there when he’s not really ready. He has to play. He missed a long time.

“He’s got to get his legs back underneath him and all that. We’ll see where that is. He’s worked his tail off, though, which doesn’t surprise me with him. And, he’s really tried to keep himself in as good as condition as he can. But, it’s not basketball condition. You can go out and run 100 marathons and you’re not going to be in great condition to play basketball, so we’re going to have to see where that is when he gets on the floor.”

Beal’s return will bolster a Wizards team off to its best start since the 1974-75 season when it began 7-1. Washington is 7-2 without Beal and atop the Southeast Division after beating the Orlando Magic, 98-93 on Saturday night.

The 21-year-old shooting guard averaged 17.1 points last season. Once ready, Beal is expected to hop back into the starting lineup and bump Garrett Temple to the bench.

The Wizards will face two challenges next week: Wednesday, the 7-3 Dallas Mavericks come to D.C. Friday, the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers visit.

• Todd Dybas can be reached at tdybas@washingtontimes.com.

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