The NBA season is moving, as it always does, at a rapid pace to begin the year, with the Phoenix Suns finding themselves sitting at 2-2.
They’re achieved this through the elite play of Kevin Durant, and by leaning on their bench unit and role players earlier in the campaign than they would have liked to. Give them credit though, those players have mostly stepped up.
One player Suns fans are yet to see suit up for the team is Bradley Beal, and that won’t be changing tonight.
Beal remains out with a “back tweak”, which head coach Frank Vogel has been quick to play down as not a significant injury. His remarks regarding no timetable for his return being misconstrued, as excellently broken down by Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports.
The organization have also made it be known that neither Beal or Devin Booker are currently under any kind of load management regimes with the team. The injuries – both Beal’s back and Booker’s left ankle – are genuine but not long-term issues according to the Suns.
Quite when we may see Beal is anybody’s guess at this point, and missing five games to start the season was not what player or team had in mind. The Suns will embark on a three game road trip out East after their rematch with the San Antonio Spurs, and it is assumed Beal will make the trip with the team.
Indeed Shams Charania of The Athletic jumped on the “Run It Back” podcast earlier today, and expressed belief that Beal would make his debut on the road trip, saying;
"“Brad Beal is more of a day-to-day thing… I think the Suns are optimistic that if there is no setback with Brad Beal’s back, possibly over the next week or so. They do play in Chicago in a week on the eighth (of November) and maybe that could be a game that you have all three back, and see if Brad Beal can make his return (for then).”"
If Beal were to stay back though, it would create fresh doubt around just how bad his back issue is, but that is a worst case scenario that there is currently zero indication is going to happen. With Booker it is more straightforward, as he has already been upgraded to “questionable” for the Spurs game.
Fans are no closer to see their “Big 3” on the court together, with the last time they were all out there together now over two weeks ago in preseason action. The Suns need to beat the Spurs second time round, and move to 3-2 having dropped a game to a rebuilding team that they should really be beating.
Beal won’t be rushed back, but a positive update once the team hits the road would make everybody feel better about the situation. He has put up over 30 points per game twice in his career, and the reality of pairing that with Durant, who has started the campaign in the thick of the MVP race, is exactly what the Suns need to go to the next level.