It is unfortunate that the Washington Wizards are 6-17, last in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, after preseason hopes that the team would be a playoff contender. And it’s hard to see that the team was the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic where the team had to miss nearly two weeks of activity due to a mass outbreak last month. Seven players ultimately caught the virus.
Last week, some of the Wizards’ players, most notably Davis Bertans and Ish Smith, disclosed that they had the coronavirus. They also detailed how they spent their quarantines in an article by Scott Cacciola of The New York Times last week.
In Smith’s case, he was initially alarmed by an inconclusive test on Jan. 14. “When you get an inconclusive, you’re thinking, ‘That might not be too good, I was taking NyQuil, DayQuil — and not even needing it. I just wanted to prevent any symptoms from going from 0 to 100,” he said in Cacciola’s article.
Smith was not cleared until Jan. 31 because his cycle threshold (or a measure of virus load) was reported to be too high.
Bertans, who is married and has a young daughter, checked into a Residence Inn hotel to quarantine because he didn’t want to infect his family. He spent his time playing video games up to “10 to 12 hours” per day.
Cacciola also noted that up to 50 Wizards staff members took daily COVID-19 tests outside of their practice facility and the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Congress Heights. Most trips for testing were mundane. But one day there was a traffic jam because many showed up around the same day. The team’s chef, Stephen Korda also prepared daily meals for them to ensure that players were eating healthy during the quarantine.
General Manager Tommy Sheppard and his family also provided care packages and Head Coach Scott Brooks texted players daily.
While the Wizards are certainly not playing as well as their fans or they themselves would like, I can sympathize with them regarding their battle with the coronavirus last month. Those two weeks in mid-January were surreal and hopefully, something we’ll never see again.