Updated on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
On consecutive days, Atlanta Hawks forward/center Al Horford (pectoral) and Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (knee) suffered serious in-game injuries that may significantly affect their ability to participate in the 2013-14 NBA season.
For the second time in the last three seasons, Horford will miss a significant amount of time with a torn pectoral muscle. Horford, who tore his left pectoral on Jan. 11, 2012, subsequently missed 58 games (55 in the regular season) and only played in 17 total contests that year (three in the postseason).
On Thursday, Horford suffered a complete tear of his right pectoral muscle while trying to deflect an inbounds pass. The injury will sideline him indefinitely and most likely for the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign.
Horford was in the midst of the best season of his career, one which likely would have resulted in his third NBA All-Star nod in the last four years. He was averaging career-highs of 18.6 points and 1.5 blocks while shooting a career-best 56.7 percent from the field. Horford is currently one of just six NBA players leading his respective team in both points and rebounding (8.4 per game).
Beal, who as a rookie missed 26 games at the end of the 2012-13 campaign because of a lingering stress injury to his leg, spent the entire offseason recovering from the ailment.
After missing 10 games from Nov. 26 to Dec. 14 dealing with a reoccurrence of the leg issue, Beal looks to once again be sidelined with perhaps an even more serious injury.
On Friday, Beal banged his left knee against an opponent’s in the fourth quarter of his team’s game while trying to set a screen. The No. 3 overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft attempted to get up on his own but was unable to do so; two teammates eventually helped him leave the court as he favored the knee.
Washington head coach Randy Whittman noted in his post-game press conference that Beal’s precautionary X-ray was negative but said an MRI would be conducted on Saturday to determine the seriousness of the injury. Washington Post reporter Michael Lee noted that Beal “needed crutches as he walked down [the] hallway” after the game.
Update: According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, the MRI on Beal’s knee revealed no structural damage. He simply suffered a bruise and should return to action soon.
Beal has been averaging 19.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists while playing 38.1 minutes per game (5.9 more than he did as a rookie) and shooting 45.3 percent from downtown (6.7 percent better than last year) for the Wizards.