For nine days, Scott Brooks, head coach of the Washington Wizards, visited some of his players as he passed them on his way to and from the covered parking lot where they received their daily COVID-19 tests.
Brooks waved and honked. Nobody dared open the windows – just in case. And while he showed a friendly smile in passing, the coach hid his discomfort and concern.
When seven Wizards players were placed under health and safety protocol for four days in mid-January, Brooks thought the same thing as everyone else in the organization.
I tested negative, Brooks told ESPN, recalling the 13-day break between games. Does that mean I’ll test positive tomorrow? I’m thinking: I know we have a group of people [on file]. Okay, I’m next. I’m with these guys before a timeout, with these guys at halftime. When will I receive my positive test?
And no matter how much you want it, it’s still scary, Mr. Brooks said. People are dying because of it.
One staff member tested false positive, but Brooks and the Wizards staff remained free of coronavirus. Davis Bertans, Rui Hachimura and Moritz Wagner will play against Atlanta on Friday. And if Dany Avdia, Troy Brown Jr. and Ish Smith remain out of the game due to health and safety protocols, they could be back on the scene Sunday against Brooklyn.
The Wizards organization discontinued the game after a 128-107 victory over Phoenix on Monday, 11. January. The next day, two players were quarantined according to health and safety protocols. He was followed by three other players the next day. There were a total of seven Wizards in action this Friday.
These guys are young, Wizards CEO Tommy Sheppard said on Thursday night. And they’re away from their families. Rui’s entire support network is in Japan. Wagner’s parents are all in Germany. Bertans, his wife is pregnant, he had to be separated from his wife and children. Everyone had something unique they were dealing with. I am very proud of our team. The last three games were very tough because we were really at the bottom.
Since Washington suspended its fight against Phoenix, the NBA has taken a more proactive approach to limiting the spread of the virus. The league and the National Basketball Players Association have agreed to strengthen health and safety protocols, including prohibiting guests from visiting players’ rooms and hotel staff in their absence and limiting players’ interactions on the court before and after games.
Head coach Scott Brooks of the Wizards has had to deal with postponements and improved safety protocols with his team due to the Coronavirus. Daniel Dunn-USA Sports Today
On Wednesday, the NBA postponed 22 games because teams did not have the minimum number of players required by health and safety protocols for a safe game. Twelve of these games were between the Memphis Wizards and the Grizzlies.
The NBA is learning as it goes. And I think they learned a lot from us, Mr. Brooks said. Now, I see that usually, someone has [the virus] and cripples it for a few games. Because I think it’s better to miss two than six.
The NBA has certainly seen what the Wizards have gone through. The organization noted that it played against no fewer than seven teams (Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, Miami and Phoenix) that had players within minutes of the Washington game or came in later.
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Any replay or incident happens because they watch the contact tracing, they watch the video, said Sheppard, who along with Brooks praised the NBA. You see it and learn from it, and you can adjust immediately.
Injuries and problems with the Wizards’ coronavirus have led to a 3-11 record so far this season, the worst in the NBA. Their star guard Beal was visibly and loudly disappointed after the loss. The 20th. In January, Beal was concerned that the Wizards were playing so fast after being allowed to practice with only eight players. The NBA postponed the Wizards’ next game against Milwaukee shortly after Beal and Brooks’ performance.
After scoring 47 points in Wednesday’s 124-106 defeat to New Orleans, Beal was asked if he was disappointed with the loss and how the season had gone.
Is the sky blue? Beale replied.
With nearly half of the list of health and safety protocols having been returned, the Wizards are optimistic that they can get their season back to somewhat normal.
I think [Beale] is realistic, these are things that are completely out of our control, Sheppard said. Life happens. All these little things start popping up and you just say: I’ll catch up with you. It was the beginning of the season, that’s for sure. There have been many ups and downs.
But now you see a little blue on the horizon.