13 days of contact tracing, displacement and harm for the wizards

For nine days, Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks got the closest thing to some of his players as he passed them on his way to or from the closed parking lot where they were given their daily COVID-19 tests. Brooks waved and honked the horn. Nobody dared roll down the windows – just to be sure. And while showing a friendly smile as he passed, the trainer hid his own fear and fear.

When seven Wizards players filed health and safety logs over a four-day period in early January, Brooks thought the same as everyone in the organization.

“I tested negative,” Brooks told ESPN, thinking back to the 13-day break between games. “‘Does that mean I’ll test positive tomorrow?’ I think, ‘I know we have some people [in the protocols]. Ok i’m next I’m with these guys on time out, with these guys at halftime. When will i get my positive test? ‘”

“And no matter how tough you want to be, it’s still scary,” said Brooks. “People die over it.”

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There was a false positive test for an employee, but Brooks and the Wizards staff remained coronavirus free. Davis Bertans, Rui Hachimura and Moritz Wagner play against Atlanta on Friday. And while Deni Avdija, Troy Brown Jr. and Ish Smith are out due to health and safety protocols, they could return against Brooklyn on Sunday.

The Wizards organization came to a standstill after a 128-107 win over Phoenix on Monday January 11th. The next day, two players went into quarantine according to health and safety protocols. The day after that, three more players followed. As of Friday, there were a total of seven wizards on the logs.

“These guys are young,” said Tommy Sheppard, general manager of Wizards, Thursday night. “And they are away from their families. Rui’s entire support network is in Japan. Wagner’s parents are all in Germany. Bertans, his wife is pregnant, he had to be away from his wife and children. Everyone had a unique thing that they had I’m really proud of our team. The last three games have really tried because we were really to the bone. “

Since Washington’s shift against Phoenix, the NBA has taken a more proactive approach to limiting the spread of the virus. The league and the National Basketball Players Association agreed to tighten their health and safety protocols, including banning hotel rooms from players and staff on the street and restricting player interaction on the field before and after games.

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks had to manage postponements and improved security protocols with his team due to the coronavirus. Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

By Wednesday, the NBA had postponed 22 games because the teams did not have the minimum number of players required to play safely under health and safety protocols. Twelve of these games involved the Wizards and the Memphis Grizzlies.

“”[The NBA is] Learn things as we walk. And I assume they learned a lot from us, “said Brooks.” I see this more often now, someone has [the virus] and they turned it off for a few games. Because I think it’s better to miss two than six. “

The NBA certainly watched what the wizards went through. The organization noted how it played against a number of seven teams (Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, Miami, and Phoenix) that had players in or later on the logs after they got Washington had asked.

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“Every iteration or incident is due to them watching contact tracing and videos,” said Sheppard, who with Brooks praised the NBA. “You see and learn from it, and you can adapt immediately.”

The wizards’ problems with injury and the coronavirus this season have given them a 3:11 record so far, the worst in the NBA. Her star guard Beal was visibly and vocally frustrated after losses. On January 20, Beal expressed concern that the Wizards were playing so soon after being cleared for practice with just eight players. The NBA postponed the Wizards’ next game against Milwaukee shortly after Beal and Brooks spoke.

After Beal scored 47 points in a 124-106 defeat to New Orleans on Wednesday, Beal was asked if he was frustrated with the defeat and how the season had gone.

“Is the sky blue?” Replied Beal.

With nearly half the roster returning from the health and safety logs, wizards are optimistic that some level of normalcy can return to their season.

“I think [Beal] If we look at this realistically, these are things that are completely beyond our control, “said Sheppard.” Life happens. All of these little things show up and you just go, doggonite. It was definitely a rough start to the season. ‘There were many seizures and beginnings.

“But now you can see a little blue on the horizon.”

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