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Wizards get wish, game vs. Bucks postponed

Wizards guard Bradley Beal vs. Bucks

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 24: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards shoots against the Milwaukee Bucks at Capital One Arena on February 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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The Wizards match the longest non-2020 in-season stoppage in NBA history – 10 days – today. Because of a coronavirus outbreak, Washington hadn’t even been able to practice until yesterday.

Which means the Wizards felt unprepared to play the Bucks tomorrow. Bradley Beal said he’d talk with the players’ union about getting the game postponed.

The league rules in Washington’s favor.

NBA release:

The National Basketball Association game scheduled for Fri., Jan. 22 between the Washington Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks at [in Milwaukee] has been postponed in accordance with the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.

The game is being postponed due to the number of unavailable players for the Wizards, contact tracing for other players on their roster, and the length of time preceding the game during which the team was unable to practice.

The “length of time preceding the game during which the team was unable to practice” is a new reason cited in postponing a game. That’s understandable given the unique length of the Wizards’ interruption and the uncharted waters of playing through a pandemic.

But it’s still sure to raise about equity. The 76ers were forced to play a game they wanted postponed a couple weeks ago. The league ruled Philadelphia met the minimum of eight available players.

Washington also has eight available players on its 16-man roster.

Seven Wizards tested positive for coronavirus. Washington has six players out due to health-and-safety protocols: Deni Avdija, Davis Bertans, Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura, Ish Smith and Moritz Wagner. The Wizards also waived Anzejs Pasecniks.

Thomas Bryant is out for the season, and Russell Westbrook is still sidelined by his quad injury.

That leaves eight Washington players available.

But there are legitimate health concerns with a quick turnaround. Players are more susceptible to injury when not properly conditioned, and the Wizards went a while unable to train. With a shorthanded roster, Washington’s eight active players would’ve shouldered more load, too.

The Wizards are scheduled to play the Spurs on Sunday. That allows more time for Washington’s eight active players to get back into game shape. Westbrook could return by then. Players recovering from coronavirus could get cleared.

Whenever they play next, the Wizards will take sole possession of the longest non-2020 in-season stoppage in NBA history.