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Wizards cancel practice, join growing list of NBA teams facing coronavirus concerns

Ben Rohrbach
·2-min read

Add the Washington Wizards to a growing list of NBA teams dealing with COVID-19 concerns.

The morning after defeating the Phoenix Suns, the Wizards have canceled Tuesday’s practice “out of an abundance of caution” following the entry of two players into league health and safety protocols.

Over the past week, the Wizards have faced the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat — three teams currently decimated by positive coronavirus tests and resultant contract tracing. Half their rosters are quarantined for likely exposure to the virus. The Celtics and Heat have both postponed games as a result.

The Washington Wizards hosted the Phoenix Suns on Monday night, before canceling Tuesday's practice over coronavirus concerns. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
The Washington Wizards hosted the Phoenix Suns on Monday night, before canceling Tuesday's practice over coronavirus concerns. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Wizards star Bradley Beal had direct contact with friend and Celtics counterpart Jayson Tatum during a mask-less postgame conversation following Friday’s meeting between the two teams. Tatum reportedly returned a positive COVID-19 test that night. Health and safety protocols called for Beal to miss Saturday’s game against the Heat as a result. He returned to play 35 minutes of Monday’s 128-107 win over the Suns.

Meanwhile, Phoenix rookie Jalen Smith has been ruled out under the NBA’s health and safety protocols since Thursday. The NBA reportedly requires a minimum seven-day quarantine for prolonged exposure to the virus and a minimum 10-day quarantine for a positive test. It is unclear under which protocol Smith falls.

Beal returned 72 hours after facing the Celtics, and his teammates played a game in between. According to a copy of the league’s health and safety protocols obtained by The Athletic, the NBA cites Center for Disease Control guidelines in its determination that in-game exposure and close contact for fewer than 15 minutes are unlikely sources of transmission. Not all experts agree, given the nature of contact in the NBA.

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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