The Wizards’ next scheduled game is against Cleveland on Sunday.
On Tuesday morning, Wizards forward Rui Hachimura and center Moe Wagner entered into the league’s coronavirus protocols and the team canceled practice. Hours later, Washington’s game Wednesday against the Utah Jazz was postponed. Because of contact tracing, the Wizards would not have had eight eligible players required to compete.
Both postponements Wednesday may reflect the league’s recent tightening when it comes to coronavirus protocols. Although each team’s case is different, the Philadelphia 76ers played a game against Denver less than a week ago when they had four players ineligible because of NBA health and safety protocols and others out with injuries, leaving them with the requisite eight players only in technical terms. Philadelphia Coach Doc Rivers had to make Mike Scott, who is recovering with a knee injury, active to field a roster, then questioned whether his team should be playing at all.
The league and the NBA Players’ Association met Tuesday to come up with more stringent protocols.
Hachimura and Wagner were not the first Wizards players to enter the league’s health and safety protocols — star guard Bradley Beal was not permitted to play against Miami on Saturday night because of contact tracing following Washington’s game in Boston on Friday. After the game, Beal interacted with Celtics guard and longtime friend Jayson Tatum, who tested positive the following day.
Tatum was not the only player to enter coronavirus protocols after a game against the Wizards.
Kevin Durant entered quarantine one day after Washington played at Brooklyn on Jan. 3; the 76ers had a positive test the day after the Wizards played in Philadelphia on Jan. 6; and the day the Wizards beat Miami at Capital One Arena on Saturday, a Heat player returned an inconclusive test.
“It’s tough, it’s definitely tough, but I know myself and I’ve talked to our team quite a bit — we have to keep everything in perspective,” Wizards Coach Scott Brooks said in a video conference Tuesday about playing through the pandemic. “It’s tough, but we get to do something we really, really love to do, and it’s a privilege to be in the NBA, to coach, to play. This is a world problem, we all have to do what’s right for each other. And it’s definitely difficult. … we have to continue to be diligent.”