The Washington Wizards’ list of players in NBA coronavirus protocols rose to five on Monday as the organization, like so many in the league, grapples with an outbreak.
Forward Anthony Gill and center Thomas Bryant are the latest players to enter protocols. They join guard Raul Neto (who entered Sunday just before Washington lost to Philadelphia at Capital One Arena), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bradley Beal. Caldwell-Pope and Beal, who is not vaccinated, entered the protocols last week.
Coach Wes Unseld Jr. said Monday that several staff members also tested positive, but declined to say how many.
“I have a hard time keeping track,” he said. “It changes from hour to hour.”
The Wizards said Monday night they called off their shootout ahead of Tuesday’s game in Miami.
Neto’s positive emerged during the team’s pre-match routine testing around 2 p.m. Sunday before their 6 p.m. game – enough time for the reserve keeper to not play. Bryant, who is recovering from ACL surgery and has not played this season, was out of his usual place on the bench, but Gill clocked in seven minutes against the 76ers.
Unseld said the players’ symptoms ranged from non-existent to “very mild,” adding that none of the five had experienced any problems other than those associated with a cold or the flu. He hopes Beal can join the squad for their game in Miami on Tuesday; he entered Protocols on Thursday and last performed on December 18.
If Beal plays on Tuesday, the Wizards will occupy him for his normal number of minutes while relying on the All-Star Guardian to let Unseld know when he needs a break.
“If he plays tomorrow I can’t imagine he will be in great shape,” Unseld said. “But I know he didn’t just sit around doing nothing.”
Kyle Kuzma can attest to the adjustment period. The forward entered protocols on December 11 and joined the team on December 14, but didn’t feel up to his full strength until Thursday’s victory at the New York Knicks – nearly two weeks after testing positive.
“I was screwed. I was sick and broke for six days. I didn’t do anything for about six days, ”he said. “Going back to the first three games… it was a struggle. “
Unseld also had to make adjustments.
The Wizards are so understaffed that they called up two players from their G League affiliate and signed them on 10-day contracts using the NBA hardship exception. But the integration of goalkeeper Jordan Goodwin and forward Jordan Schakel requires changes in practice.
” It is still [tough to play five-on-five] because you are aware of the workload of these guys who log a lot of minutes. You don’t want to tax them too much, but we have to get [Schakel and Goodwin] up to speed, ”Unseld said. “A lot of it is working on terminology before and after practice, just a few basic sets; we’re not going to get too complicated when these guys are on the pitch. … We have to keep it simple on both sides so that they can at least hold water and give us a little more depth.
Washington could get extra reinforcement against Heat: Rui Hachimura got dressed and took part in pre-game warm-ups ahead of the Wizards’ last two games, but still hasn’t played this season. When asked if he could play on Tuesday, Unseld said the forward was traveling with the team and was questionable.