COVID-19 continues to rear its ugly head and while it is an issue all over the NBA, it has hit the Washington Wizards hard. The team has confirmed that seven players are positive with the virus. Since playing the Phoenix Suns on January 11th, the Wizards have been forced to postpone five straight games.
Prior to the outbreak, Washington faced the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers whom both had Jayson Tatum and Seth Curry test positive following their games with the Wizards. While the source of where it started is unknown, it is very plausible to think it had something to do with those games.
“Every place that we played, there was a player the next night that was pulled out, Wizard general manager Tommy Sheppard said. “We weren’t one of those. After we played them, we kept testing negative, kept testing negative, we kept moving. But the incubation period of this is 7-to-10 days, so it can turn on you in a hurry. I hate to say it, but it was our turn. It hit us all at once.”
In addition to players, it was confirmed on Monday that a staff member is also positive. Originally no staff members were positive which made Sheppard pretty comfortable that the spread did not start inside the Wizards organization. However, staff being unaffected has quickly changed.
“We have players that are out on the floor unmasked during the games,” Sheppard explained. “That’s an obvious thing. They have exposure to each other. Sometimes on the bench, players will pull their masks down and talk to each other, things like that. The contact tracing is very necessary, but it’s also difficult because it could have been anywhere at any time.”
“The fact it hasn’t jumped the wall and it hasn’t extended past players kind of makes you, at least common sense-wise, would make you believe it’s happening in contact out on the court,” he continued.
It still remains unknown when the Wizards will step on the court again or how their postponed games will be handled. Until tests start showing up negative, they could be in for a long wait.
In the meantime, available team members are working out via Zoom which isn’t the most ideal situation but it is the only option right now without the ability to practice.
After losing Thomas Bryant for the season and sitting Russell Westbrook for a few weeks due to a quad injury, Washington is surely experiencing its fair share of adversity.