The Wizards will be without star guard Bradley Beal for Saturday night's game against the Miami Heat due to the NBA's coronavirus protocols, as one day earlier he played against Jayson Tatum of the Celtics, who has since tested positive for COVID-19. The Beal news was first reported by The Athletic less than one hour before tip-off.
Beal guarded Tatum for much of the game on Friday night and was shown on the NBC Sports Washington broadcast greeting him afterward. Beal and Tatum are good friends, having grown up together in St. Louis, MO.
It seemed likely the Wizards would be affected by the coronavirus protocols soon, as the Tatum news was the third close call they had in a week. Last weekend, they played the Nets and soon after Kevin Durant had to enter quarantine. Then, on Wednesday they played the Sixers and one day later, guard Seth Curry tested positive.
This does not mean Beal has the coronavirus, but he will have to register negative tests before he can return to the lineup. The Wizards play their next game on Monday against the Suns.
If Beal tests positive, he will have to miss 10-to-14 days to quarantine. That, of course, is a secondary concern to his health and the health of those around him.
When it comes to the basketball effect of his absence, the Wizards will be undermanned against a good Heat team. They will also be missing Russell Westbrook, who is out due to a sore quadriceps muscle. With Beal and Westbrook out, others like Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans and Thomas Bryant will have to step up to fill the void.
The NBA is trying to play their 2020-21 season in the home cities of each team, rather than in a bubble as they did to close out the 2019-20 campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone knew it would be riskier and that these types of incidents would happen. Now, it has affected the Wizards in a very direct way.