Bradley Beal set to return for the Phoenix Suns against the Charlotte Hornets

According to reports, Bradley Beal will be active for the Phoenix Suns’ game against the Charlotte Hornets after missing the past five games with an ankle injury. 

Phoenix Suns v Houston Rockets
Phoenix Suns v Houston Rockets / Alex Bierens de Haan/GettyImages
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Bradley Beal has been listed as active for the Phoenix Suns’ game against the Charlotte Hornets, according to ESPN’s Adrain Wojnarowski. The game will be played in Phoenix and tips off at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. If Beal starts the game, it will be the third time Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Beal will have started a game together this season.

Beal’s return from an ankle injury could not come at a better time for the Suns. Mired in mediocrity at 15-15, Wojnarowski reported individuals within the Suns organization have felt Kevin Durant’s discontent with the quality of the Suns’ roster. Durant quickly responded to the report in a since-deleted Instagram post.

"Woj says somebody else 'feels' that I'm frustrated and it turned into me being mentally checked out. This s— crazy, these people can flat out lie on my name and make s— up and you people will believe it but when my teammates n coaches speak on how I am as a teammate, u ignore it lol."

Bradley Beal’s injuries may be testing Kevin Durant’s patience 

If Durant is indeed frustrated with the Suns, much of it likely stems from Beal’s persistent unavailability. The Suns believed they had assembled the league’s most devastating big three when they acquired Beal from the Washington Wizards to play alongside Booker and Durant. However, Beal only suited up in three of their first 22 games and then sprained his ankle five minutes into his sixth game of the season, forcing him to miss the next five. In total, he has played 151 minutes across six games. 

Booker has also missed nine of the Suns games, but compared to Beal, his availability has been sterling. With Beal and Booker missing so many games, Durant, at 35 years old, has had to shoulder a tremendous early-season load. He has been more than up to the challenge, averaging 30.2 points per game on 51.9 percent shooting, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable for his patience to be wearing thin after expecting a season playing next to two All-Star guards.  

The Suns’ big three might soon terrorize the NBA

The Suns’ big three have played a total of 24 minutes together over the first 30 games of the season. While the sample size is incredibly small, with Beal, Booker, and Durant on the court, the Suns have a net rating of plus-27.8, an offensive rating of 138.0, and a defensive rating of 110.2, and that’s with typical 3-point shooting splits. 

With 2023 almost in the books, the Suns have yet to see what their roster is truly capable of. They’ve already seen the pitfalls of building such a top-heavy roster, as injuries can quickly turn a championship favorite into a mediocre mess, but Beal’s return will give them an idea of this roster’s upside. If the early returns are any indication, they’ll be just as formidable as fans expected when they swung their mid-summer trade for Beal. 

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