The 2022 Washington Mystics season in many ways is a return to normal life. Games can be at full capacity once again at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. Facemasks aren’t required everywhere attendees go. And thankfully, the coronavirus is not as deadly as it once was two years ago, due to previous health measures like the aforementioned facemasks and vaccines.
While the season is generally progressing as normal, the coronavirus is still coming for its annual summer wave. The Mystics and the WNBA aren’t immune to them. When Washington plays the Chicago Sky tonight at 6 p.m., two of their coaches, head coach Mike Thibault and assistant coach Shelley Patterson, will be out because they have entered protocols. For Thibault specifically, this is his second time entering protocols after he tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of last season. With them out, Associate Head Coach Eric Thibault becomes the acting head coach and LaToya Sanders will be the only official assistant coach.
While no players are out tonight due to health and safety protocols, Natasha Cloud and Alysha Clark missed games at the end of May due to them.
The WNBA’s protocols this year are a bit different than in 2021 when they were subject to a 10-day quarantine, which ESPN’s Alexa Philippou wrote about in a recent article after several Seattle Storm players contracted COVID-19 in late May. To be clear, since the Mystics’ news regarding Cloud and Clark came out at around the same time, the teams’ cases are probably not related because the Mystics and Storm haven’t played each other yet.
This season, players and coaches are only subject to testing if they are symptomatic. If they test positive, they may return after testing negative two times in a 24-hour period in most cases.
Get well soon Coach T and Coach Patterson.