The Phoenix Suns are opening their season against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, but they’ll likely have to do it without one of their bright new stars.
Bradley Beal is “unlikely” to play on opening night due to a back issue, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The last time Beal played was Oct. 16. He was on the floor for 18 minutes of the Suns’ preseason win over the Portland Trail Blazers but struggled with his shot while scoring 11 points with two assists and two steals. It’s not known if the back issue was hampering Beal at that point, but later that week the Suns announced that Beal was dealing with low back tightness and wouldn’t play in their preseason finale against the Los Angeles Lakers.
At the time, the Suns didn’t believe Beal’s back issue would affect him in the regular season. Even just a few days ago, when Beal was limited in practice, head coach Frank Vogel didn’t seem terribly concerned.
Frank Vogel said he limited Bradley Beal (low back tightness) and Devin Booker (sore toe) today, but both should be fine. #Suns
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) October 22, 2023
Despite Beal reportedly not playing Tuesday night due to his back, he told the media on Monday that it’s not a big deal and that he’s been improving.
“It’s better, it’s better,” Beal said after Monday’s practice via the Arizona Republic. “A little tweak last week. Definitely trending right and feeling better. Was able to practice last two days. So it’s been good.”
While that’s far from an official statement, it’s a good sign. If Beal is getting better, he may be back in the lineup sooner rather than later.
Devin Booker also questionable
Devin Booker, the Suns’ homegrown star, may also miss opening night with an injury. He’s listed as questionable with a toe injury.
Like Beal, Booker last played Oct. 16 against the Blazers. But unlike Beal, there was no struggle in Booker’s game. Over 18 minutes, he scored 19 points with two rebounds, four assists, two steals and four 3-pointers.
He sat out the preseason finale against the Lakers later in the week, but that was listed as a rest day. The sore toe news didn’t pop up until Sunday, when Vogel said Booker would be fine and the injury shouldn’t affect the regular season.
The Suns face the Warriors on Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET on TNT.
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