Davis Bertans

Davis Bertans Out 4-6 Weeks Due To Calf Strain

An MRI conducted on Davis Bertans‘ injured right calf revealed a Grade 2 strain, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). According to Wojnarowski, Bertans will require four-to-six weeks to recover from the injury.

It’s bad news for the Wizards and for the veteran forward, who suffered the injury in Monday’s win over Philadelphia after scoring 15 points in just 23 minutes. However, given that Washington is down 3-1 in the series, it may not have mattered if Bertans had just been ruled out for a few days rather than for a few weeks — his season would likely be over either way.

Still, considering the Sixers are dealing with an important injury of their own – Joel Embiid (knee) is also undergoing an MRI today – the door is slightly ajar for the Wizards to make the series interesting. If they’re going to do so, they’ll have to lean on power forward Rui Hachimura to play an increased role. While he’ll be hard-pressed to replicate Bertans’ floor-spacing ability, Hachimura has knocked down 8-of-12 threes through four games.

After signing a five-year, $80MM contract last offseason, Bertans had an up-and-down 2020/21 season. In 57 games (25.7 MPG), he recorded 11.5 PPG on .404/.395/.870 shooting, which represented a dip in his production from ’19/20. He should be fully healthy well in advance of the start of the second season of that five-year deal.

Injury Notes: Embiid, Bertans, Celtics, CP3

As we relayed on Monday evening, Sixers center Joel Embiid left Game 4 vs. Washington due to right knee soreness after playing just 11 minutes. After the game, head coach Doc Rivers said that Embiid would undergo an MRI on the injured knee on Tuesday, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Rivers was unsure whether Embiid would be available for Game 5 on Wednesday.

While the Sixers will need a healthy Embiid to make a serious run at the NBA Finals, the club is confident that it can win one more game against the Wizards and advance to the second round with or without its All-Star center.

“We’re going to need him to be the last team standing, to win,” Sixers guard Danny Green said, per Windhorst. “It doesn’t mean we can’t win the next game without him.”

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Wizards forward Davis Bertans was having his best game of the playoffs on Monday before a right calf strain forced him to exit the game early. It’s the same injury that sidelined him for two weeks in March, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington, who reports that Bertans will undergo an MRI on Tuesday.
  • The Celtics have listed Kemba Walker (left knee bone bruise) and Robert Williams (left ankle sprain) as doubtful for Game 5 on Tuesday. If Walker and Williams don’t play in tonight’s game, their seasons may be over, since Boston is on the brink of elimination, down 3-1 to Brooklyn.
  • Suns guard Chris Paul (right shoulder contusion) “didn’t do a ton” at Monday’s practice, according to head coach Monty Williams, but it was a light day of work in general for the team (Twitter link via Gina Mizell). Paul is listed as probable for Game 5 on Tuesday and seems very likely to suit up.
  • In case you missed it, All-Star Lakers big man Anthony Davis (left groin strain) is considered unlikely to be available for Game 5 vs. Phoenix. He’s officially listed as questionable.

Wizards Notes: Westbrook, Beal, Bertans, Gafford

Russell Westbrook was a game-time decision Saturday because of an ankle sprain he suffered in Game 2, but his Wizards teammates never had any doubt that he would be ready, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Westbrook not only played, he recorded his 11th playoff triple-double, posting 26 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a loss to the Sixers.

I know Russ. If it’s not broke, he’s going to play,” Bradley Beal said. “So, I’m gonna be honest, I kind of knew after the last game he was going to play. Just knowing who he is, if he could play for two minutes then he was going to go out there and give it everything he had.”

Westbrook said after the game that his ankle felt “so-so” and he “just tried to go out and do what I can.” His status for Monday night’s Game 4 hasn’t been determined.

There’s more on the Wizards:

  • Beal has taken a major step this season in proving he can be a franchise player, according to Kareem Copeland of The Washington Post. Beal has been moving in that direction for years, but his status became clearer with the trade of John Wall. “I take pride in getting better each and every game and, obviously, in the offseason getting better,” Beal said. “… Coach trusts me, teammates and the organization trusts me to just continue to lead and kind of be the franchise focal point. Obviously, I still have a long way to go and still have a lot of room to go. But I’m definitely not the same player I was two years ago in that series.”
  • The Wizards moved Davis Bertans into the starting lineup to provide more size against a taller Philadelphia team, but his shooting woes prevented that move from being effective, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Bertans is normally one of the league’s most dangerous three-point threats, but he made just one of five shots from long distance in Game 3 after missing all four attempts in Game 2.
  • Sixers center Joel Embiid is putting up dominant numbers in the first-round series after being an MVP candidate during the regular season. It’s a tough matchup for Daniel Gafford, but coach Scott Brooks believes the experience will benefit the young center in the long run, Hughes tweets.

Southeast Notes: Beal, Collins, Bertans, Magic

After initially straining his hamstring just under two weeks ago, Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal braced himself to play through the injury in this week’s play-in tournament, writes David Aldridge of The Athletic.

“I’m a strider,” Beal said on Monday, in advance of the Wizards’ eventual 118-100 blowout play-in loss to the Celtics yesterday. “It restricts a lot of my movements, for sure. But when you’re … on the court you find ways to manage it. You’re in control of a lot of stuff. The reactionary stuff, you’re not, especially like on defense and things like that. But the things you can’t control, you try not to put yourself in harm’s way.”

The Wizards will play the Pacers tomorrow for the No. 8 seed in the East.

There’s more out of the Southeast:

  • Hawks power forward John Collins, a restricted free agent this summer, can help secure himself a huge payday with a strong performance against Knicks All-Star Julius Randle in Atlanta’s first-round matchup, writes Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Collins has stepped up in a crucial season, proving his mettle on both sides of the ball, though Cunningham notes that the stretch four can still afford to develop as a ball-handler. “If I know one thing, I am going to watch a lot of (game) film, get my body ready and I’m going to be laser-focused,” Collins said of his preparation for the upcoming series. “I don’t necessarily think I have anything to prove, but I’m coming to compete.”
  • Candace Buckner of the Washington Post asserts that, in order to win their second play-in game and qualify for the first round of the NBA playoffs, the Wizards will need to get more offense from power forward Davis Bertans, who is in the first year of a costly $80MM deal he signed during the 2020 offseason.
  • Magic team president Jeff Weltman discussed Orlando’s offseason roster-building plans ahead with a loaded NBA draft looming, writes Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. Weltman alluded to prioritizing the best player available over fit with the current young roster ahead of the draft, in which the Magic could very well have two lottery picks. “The draft is about talent,” Weltman said. “You always ask ‘fit or best talent.’ We’re in a great position right now. We’re not going to have 15 players 23 and under. We’ll add some vets to help us grow. We don’t even know if we’ll have one or two (lottery) picks yet.”

Davis Bertans Expected To Miss Two Weeks

Wizards forward Davis Bertans is expected to miss two weeks after suffering a right calf strain, according to a team press release.

An MRI on Friday revealed the extent of the injury, which he suffered against Utah on Thursday.

Bertans was one of the biggest free agent signings during the offseason, as Washington lavished the stretch four with a five-year, $80MM contract to retain his services.

Bertans picked a good time to have a career year last season, averaging a career-high 15.4 PPG and 4.5 RPG while shooting 42.4% from 3-point range. In 35 games this season, he’s averaging 10.8 PPG and 2.9 RPG while making 38.2% of his threes.

Bertans had a 35-point game in mid-February but he’s struggled lately, scoring in single digits the last four games. Rookie Deni Avdija and Isaac Bonga should see an uptick in minutes with Bertans sidelined.

Wizards Notes: Brooks, Bertans, Winston, Hachimura, Avdija

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks doesn’t think the All-Star Game should be played this season, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. The league and the National Basketball Players Association agreed to hold it in Atlanta next month.

“I saw (LeBron James‘) thoughts on it. I agree. I’m upset,” Brooks said. “I love Atlanta, but I don’t want to go. I’ve been to two All-Star Games…and I don’t want to go. I agree with him.”

We have more on the Wizards:

  • Davis Bertans re-signed with the club for five years and $80MM in November, but his 3-point stroke has been off this season. Katz breaks down Bertans’ struggles in an in-depth Athletic story. Bertans is shooting 33.1% from long range after making 42% of his attempts the past two seasons and it appears he still doesn’t have his legs under him, according to Katz.
  • Rookie guard Cassius Winston has been transferred to the Erie BayHawks to play in the G League season in Orlando, the team tweets. Washington’s G League team, the Capital City Go-Go, is not participating in the event. The second-round pick out of Michigan State has appeared in six NBA games and will receive much-needed playing time in Orlando.
  • Prior to Washington’s 27-point loss to Miami on Friday, second-year forward Rui Hachimura and rookie forward Deni Avdija appeared to be trending in the right direction after the team’s COVID-19 pause, Ava Wallace of the Washington Post writes.

Trio Of Wizards Returning From COVID-19 Protocols

A triumvirate of Wizards big men in Dāvis Bertāns, Rui Hachimura and Moritz Wagner have cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols and will be joining their teammates in a battle with the Hawks tomorrow, per Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Bertāns, Hachiumura and Wagner represent crucial additions to Washington’s frontcourt rotation, especially given the absence of injured starting center Thomas Bryant, who tore his left ACL and is out of commission for the rest of the season. With Bryant out, second-year starting power forward Hachimura, the No. 9 pick in the 2019 draft, becomes the team’s third-leading scorer at 13.6 PPG.

Bertāns will add much-needed outside shooting for the Wizards. The team expected him to be a key contributor when it re-signed him to a lucrative five-year, $80MM contract during the 2020 offseason. Bertāns is averaging 36.0% from long range on 7.8 attempts per night this season.

Katz notes that Wizards rookie forward Deni Avdija, reserve small forward Troy Brown Jr. and backup point guard Ish Smith are still in the league’s coronavirus health and safety protocols and will be unavailable for the immediate future. Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington adds that Avdija, Brown, and Smith will need to log practice minutes once they clear protocols before a return to game action.

The depleted Wizards saw several games postponed for 13 days after the club was unable to field eight healthy players. At 3-11, the team currently holds the worst record in the NBA by percentage.

Beal Acknowledges Frustration As Wizards’ Slide Continues

Wizards star Bradley Beal scored 47 points on Wednesday, but it wasn’t nearly enough to topple the Pelicans, who won by a score of 124-106. The Wizards’ record dropped to an NBA-worst 3-11, and the outcome made Beal the first player in NBA history to lose 10 consecutive games in which he scored 40 or more points (Twitter link).

Asked after the game if he’s frustrated by how things are going for the team as of late, Beal replied rhetorically, “Is the sky blue?” (link via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com).

When trade speculation about Beal was beginning to heat up in 2019, the All-Star guard quieted it by signing a two-year, $72MM contract extension to remain in Washington through at least 2021/22. However, the team has a 28-58 (.326) record across parts of two seasons since then, which aren’t exactly the results Beal was hoping for.

“It’s tough,” Beal said, per Youngmisuk. “I am not going to sit here and be naive. … We want to win, and I want to win. This is why I stayed. I want to win. I figured this is the place I can get it done. It’s tough. Last year was what it was. We had a lot of guys out. John (Wall) was out. It was just a rotten year. COVID hit.

“This year it’s the same thing. Like in a mini-bubble outside the bubble. No fans, no nothing, no practice time. It’s been tough.”

The Wizards have had some bad injury luck this year. Starting center Thomas Bryant suffered a season-ending ACL tear, while newly-acquired point guard Russell Westbrook – who sat out the second half of a back-to-back set on Wednesday – has also been limited by health issues, including a quad injury.

Additionally, Washington has been hit harder this year by the coronavirus pandemic than perhaps any other NBA team. Seven of the Wizards’ players have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 since the 2020/21 season began.

While Deni Avdija, Davis Bertans, Troy Brown, Rui Hachimura, Ish Smith, and Moritz Wagner all remained sidelined due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Wednesday, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said last night that he thinks there’s a “great chance” the club will get a few of those players back soon, perhaps as early as Friday (Twitter link via Fred Katz of The Athletic).

Those reinforcements could help stabilize the Wizards’ rotation, and with 58 of 72 games still to play, there’s plenty of time to turn things around. Beal said on Wednesday that the group’s confidence level remains high (link via Katz), while Brooks expressed hope that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and stressed that Beal’s desire to win is “critical to our future success” (Twitter link via Ava Wallace of The Washington Post).

Still, it’s safe to assume teams around the league will continue to monitor the situation in Washington in the coming weeks or months. For now, Beal’s frustration hasn’t risen to the point where he’s seeking a change of scenery, but he’d instantly become the NBA’s most sought-after trade target if he’s made available at any point this season.

NBA Postpones Friday’s Wizards/Bucks Game

The game between the Wizards and Bucks that was scheduled to be played on Friday in Milwaukee has been postponed, the NBA announced tonight (Twitter link).

It’s the sixth consecutive postponement for the Wizards, who haven’t played since January 11. The team was cleared to return to the court to practice on Wednesday, but remains significantly shorthanded.

Deni Avdija, Davis Bertans, Troy Brown, Rui Hachimura, Ish Smith, and Moritz Wagner are out due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, while Thomas Bryant (ACL) and Russell Westbrook (quad) are sidelined due to injuries, leaving just eight available players on the roster (Twitter link).

According to the NBA’s announcement, the game is being postponed due to the number of unavailable players for the Wizards, contact tracing affecting players on the roster, and the club’s lengthy layoff from practicing.

As Fred Katz of The Athletic wrote earlier tonight, Bradley Beal and the Wizards had been planning to lobby for a postponement of Friday’s game, since they felt that potentially playing with the league-mandated minimum of eight players after not practicing for the last week would result in a high risk of injury for the active players.

The next game on Washington’s schedule is Sunday in San Antonio. The hope is that the Wizards will have enough available players – and enough practice time between now and then – to be ready to play that game.

The NBA has now postponed 17 contests this season. The full list is here.

Southeast Notes: Rozier, Hawks, Wizards, Borrego

The big Hornets offseason acquisition of 2019, guard Terry Rozier, faces a new challenge in the 2020/21 season: acclimating to two key incoming pieces who will need touches in point guard LaMelo Ball and forward Gordon Hayward, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes.

“It just goes back to adjusting to what is best for the team — what can help us get better,” said Rozier, who cited the adjustment he made during the 2019/20 season to accommodate emergent Hornets point guard Devonte’ Graham. “I became a great catch-and-shoot guy last year. That’s adding to my game, doing multiple things.” 

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The College Park Skyhawks, G League affiliate of the Hawks, are among the several clubs anticipated to opt out of the proposed G League bubble season, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). The season is expected to transpire in the Atlanta area.
  • New Wizards reserve center Robin Lopez has joined the team for his first practice, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. Meanwhile, newly-extended power forward Davis Bertans has arrived in D.C. and is expected to be cleared for practice by Saturday, according to Ava Wallace of the Washington Post (via Twitter). Wallace notes that visa problems delayed the big man’s arrival.
  • Now that the Hornets appear to be making a push for the play-in tournament and a crack at the playoffs, head coach James Borrego will exercise more caution in the freedom he gives young players this season, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer notes.