UPDATE at 10 a.m. ET: The Washington Wizards have reached out stating that nine total players were placed under the NBA’s Health and Safety protocols for the coronavirus this week. Of those nine, six players have tested positive. The article has been updated, and this is actually good news, since just over half of the roster has been affected by the virus.
The Washington Wizards held a press conference with the media on Friday afternoon to address the team’s situation. According to General Manager Tommy Sheppard, six players have tested positive for the coronavirus since last Tuesday. Nine total players were under protocol. Players are tested twice per day and this can change.
Sheppard also mentioned that among the six players who have the coronavirus, four are asymptomatic, but two experienced mild symptoms. No players who have the virus have disclosed it at this time. The team cannot do so either, because of HIPAA.
There has been speculation that the Wizards are the “source” of the outbreak since they have played other teams that got positive cases soon after playing Washington. Sheppard said that the Wizards did not have any coaches or other staff getting the coronavirus to date.
Regardless of whether the Wizards are the NBA’s source of the league’s outbreak or not, neither Sheppard or Brooks wanted to point the finger at the NBA for their current situation. They reiterated that the team was following protocols at their facilities. No coach or staff member tested positive for COVID-19 since Monday. Sheppard also stated that the NBA knew that there could be a team which is heavily impacted by the coronavirus. Unfortunately, it’s the Wizards at this time.
Head coach Scott Brooks was also in the press conference. He said that he hoped to get the team back to practice early next week given that their next game is on the road against the Charlotte Hornets on Jan. 20. However, the team would resort to Zoom workouts in the meantime.
It’s great to hear that no Wizards coach or staff members were affected by the coronavirus, at least as of now. And it’s great to see that most of the players are asymptomatic. However, Washington isn’t quite out of the woods yet since the players are getting rested and hopefully back to playing games in the not-too-distant future.