Despite having to cancel Tuesday's practice with two players being in the NBA's coronavirus health and safety protocol, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks is optimistic the team can still play their next game on Wednesday against the Utah Jazz.
The two players were placed in protocol due to preliminary concerns involving Covid-19, but it could be due to a number of things, like possibly an inconclusive test or a false positive. The Wizards can only find out more by testing everyone further and there are plans for more tests Tuesday evening and the following day in anticipation of the game.
Cancelling practice, Brooks says, was a precaution just in case.
"We cancelled practice just so we can be smart about it," he said. "I'd love to have practice and to be around our guys especially after the big win last night, but we feel it's for the best... We don't want to put our players and our players' families and our staff in a situation where things could possibly be worse."
Brooks specifically said he does not "think the game will be in jeopardy," but that the team will know more on Wednesday as more test results come in. They recently had star guard Bradley Beal miss a game over the weekend due to league protocol, but he was back for Monday's win against the Suns after testing negative multiple times. Per league rules, teams need at least eight active players to play a game.
If something changes and they do postpone Wednesday's game, Brooks says he will understand.
"If we have to pause or cancel a game, I'm for it. Whatever we have to do, I'm for it," he said.
The decision to cancel practice was made by the Wizards' chief of athlete care and performance Dr. Daniel Medina. He has been tasked with following the various updates from the league and overseeing the implementation of rules. On the same day the Wizards cancelled practice, the league released more guidelines including barring players from having guests in their rooms at road hotels and limiting interaction with other players during and after games.
Brooks says he has tried to be as careful as possible both at home and on the road. He makes sure no one is around when he exercises in a gym and wears a mask while doing so. He gets the majority of his dinners from restaurants as to-go orders. One of the things he misses the most is having friends and family visit him.
Brooks was asked on Tuesday if there are plans for the players and coaches to get one of the Covid-19 vaccines that are starting to become available for select groups. He said he believes frontline workers and those who are more vulnerable to the virus should get them first.
"That's down the road. There are so many more people at risk that need it," he said.
With no practice, the Wizards instead sent their players film clips from Monday's game. They plan to send out scouting reports on the Jazz later today and hold a team meeting on Zoom in the morning.
It's all a touch-and-go process as they try to go through the NBA regular season outside of a bubble and amid a pandemic that has continued to spread at record rates.
"It's day-to-day. As a league, as a team, as a coach; we always try to plan out. But right now, it's day-to-day," he said.