Southeast Notes: Beal, Payton, Gordon, Rozier

Now that Bradley Beal‘s consecutive games streak has ended at 194, Fred Katz of the Athletic wonders if it’s time to consider load management for the Wizards star. Beal missed Saturday’s game with “right lower leg soreness,” which isn’t believed to be a long-term concern. In deference to the streak, coach Scott Brooks refused to keep Beal out of the lineup last season even after Washington dropped out of the playoff race, but he may consider a different approach now.

At 9-22 and with a host of injured players, the Wizards seem like a sure bet for another lottery appearance. Management has already said player development is the focus for this season, particularly with John Wall still recovering from a ruptured Achilles. Beal led the league in minutes played last year and ranks third this season. He is a strong opponent of load management, but it makes little sense to keep putting him on the court every night if it heightens his risk of injury.

“He’s as durable as anybody in the league,” Brooks said. “He’s played just about every game the last three and a half years and good minutes. He wants to play. He wants to practice. That’s great. That’s who he is. I’m sure this is gonna bother him, not being on the court with the guys knowing how banged up we are.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Gary Payton II, who signed with the Wizards this week under the hardship exception, is making a strong bid to stay on the roster, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. He is posting an 11.7/7.3/4.0 line through three games and has twice recorded six steals. Washington would have to release someone to make room for Payton, and a decision must be made by January 7 when players who aren’t waived will have their contracts guaranteed for the rest of the season.
  • Magic forward Aaron Gordon admitted last night that his left Achilles tendon has been bothering him for “a while,” tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “I feel like I might’ve been playing on it a little too long already,” Gordon said. “So now’s the time I’ve got to get it taken care of just so I get healthy and get back and help my team because it’s not something you want to play (around) with.” (Twitter link)
  • The NBA has fined Hornets guard Terry Rozier $25K for throwing the ball into the stands at the end of Friday’s loss to the Thunder.

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