Coach Scott Brooks spoke to reporters during a virtual news conference around 1 p.m.
“Throughout the league it’s happening, and we knew there was always going to be a possibility that it might happen with us,” he said. “We have a couple of players in the safety protocol, but we canceled practice just so we could be smart about it. We don’t know until the next — you know, today or tomorrow, what that all means. We’re just going by the NBA’s safety and protocol rules. … We canceled practice just to be on the side of safety with everything.”
Brooks learned Tuesday morning that Hachimura and Wagner had been placed in the league’s coronavirus protocols. Danny Medina, who heads Monumental Basketball’s athlete care and performance department, made the decision to cancel practice.
As of Tuesday, the Wizards had not shut down their practice facility; some teams — most recently the Dallas Mavericks — have done so in the wake of multiple positive tests.
“As a league, as a team, as a coach, we always try to plan out as much as we can, but right now it’s day-to-day,” Brooks said.
Asked if the team’s “day-to-day” status means the two players have not tested positive — which would result in immediate isolation for an extended period — Brooks mentioned the several reasons that players could be placed in the league’s protocols. Inconclusive test results, exposure to an outside party who has tested positive and contact tracing are reasons players around the league have been ruled ineligible to play.
Star guard Bradley Beal missed Washington’s loss to the Miami Heat on Saturday after being pulled off the court an hour before tip-off because of contact tracing, but he returned for Monday’s win over Phoenix. When Beal entered the health and safety protocols Saturday, he was the only player ruled ineligible to play, unlike in Hachimura and Wagner’s case Tuesday.
Beal was the team’s first brush with the league’s coronavirus guidelines, but the concerns surrounding the Wizards are not surprising.
In the past eight days, Kevin Durant entered quarantine one day after Washington played at Brooklyn; the 76ers had a positive case the day after the Wizards played in Philadelphia; the Celtics had a positive case the day after the Wizards played in Boston; and the day after his team was in Washington, a Heat player returned an inconclusive test and contact tracing hobbled Miami.
When the Wizards canceled practice Tuesday morning, the NBA had already postponed two games this week — one in Dallas on Monday between the Mavericks and the New Orleans Pelicans, and another in Chicago on Tuesday between the Bulls and Celtics.
Shortly after Brooks spoke, the league canceled a third Celtics game in a row, this one Wednesday against the Orlando Magic. Sunday’s game was called off because of contact tracing issues within Miami’s organization, and the following two were postponed because Boston is short on players. Celtics guard Jayson Tatum also tested positive over the weekend.