Unlike other NBA teams who came into recent contact with the Jazz, Wizards players were not tested Thursday, according to multiple people from the team.
The NBA suspended its season indefinitely Wednesday night after Gobert tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Several members of the Wizards organization, as well as other NBA figures, spoke with The Washington Post about the virus and response. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely discuss the situation.
Although the Wizards visited the Jazz nearly two weeks ago, symptoms for the virus may appear within two to 14 days after exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under the guidance of the team and medical staff, the Wizards’ self-quarantine will last for the next three to four days.
The Wizards were not the only team in the league to shut down activities amid the outbreak.
An NBA player whose team entered a full self-quarantine joked, “I’m locked in a room,” until the spread of the virus subsides. An Eastern Conference head coach, who also has to stay away from other people for a few days, said he planned to stay in contact with players via text messaging.
One high-ranking member of the Wizards’ basketball operations staff said he already was “bored,” and another expressed concerns for his family as they go about their day-to-day routines.
Although the Wizards announced the self-quarantine in a statement Thursday morning, the entire basketball operations department learned of the decision during a conference call late Wednesday night, according to several people familiar with the matter.
The call — which was led by Monumental Basketball executive Sashi Brown, team doctor Daniel Medina and Jeff Bangs, an assistant athletic trainer — started after 10 p.m. and was intended to assuage the concerns of personnel. However, the leadership group could provide only few particulars on what would happen next.
Even in a subsequent conference call with the Wizards’ roster of players — scheduled later because it took longer to get all the players on the line — details were scarce. Much like Monumental Basketball staffers, players were advised to stay in their homes and report any flu-like symptoms to team doctors immediately.
One Wizards player said he was told coronavirus testing can only be administered in hospitals, and the team wanted its group to limit contact with people as much as possible.
“It’s best that everybody kind of stays a distance from each other until things do come up," one Wizards player said. “I think when somebody shows signs and symptoms, that’s when we should go get checked. But I don’t think it’s smart to just put us in that environment when we don’t need to.”
During the team’s recent road trip out West, Washington also faced the Golden State Warriors (March 1), Sacramento Kings (March 3) and Portland Trail Blazers (March 4). At the time, Wizards players expressed only mild concern over the virus, which on Wednesday was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.
“It’s not crazy high. I think for me, I think maybe it’s three, four, I don’t know, because it hasn’t affected anybody that’s kind of close,” Wizards point guard Ish Smith said about his level of concern last week. “Usually when it hits close to home, that’s when it kind of hits you.”