One day after he scored 17 points in Team USA's win over Australia, news broke that Wizards star Bradley Beal entered health and safety protocol, suggesting he had either a positive or inconclusive test for the coronavirus. NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller reported soon after that Beal is feeling no symptoms.
Still, this could put his availability for the Tokyo Olympics in doubt, to what degree we do not know. The facts are he entered protocol 11 days before the United States plays their first Olympic game. But it was only nine days before the Olympic ceremony and only five days before the U.S. team departs for Japan on Monday.
More information should be known on Thursday, as Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich will address the media at 4:30 p.m. ET. But for now, Beal has to wait this out and hope he tests negative sooner than later.
Beal missed one game during the 2020-21 NBA season while in Covid protocol. It was after he interacted with good friend Jayson Tatum after the Wizards played the Celtics. Beal, though, was cleared quickly as it was an inconclusive test and not a positive, which would have kept him out 7-to-10 days.
Beal never missed time during the Wizards' outbreak in January which affected about half of the roster. He was one of the few rotation players who went through it unscathed. Whether he had been vaccinated or has been since is not clear.
Olympic protocols require two negative tests within 96 hours of an athlete's departure for Japan and then again once they arrive.
Popovich would know the true extent of what Beal is facing, so until he speaks there is no reason to speculate over possible replacements. At this point, we don't know enough to set an expectation for Beal's status.
But surely he will be hoping to get cleared sooner than later. Beal sees playing in the Olympics as a unique opportunity, as it only comes around every four years and it's extremely competitive to make the Team USA roster. It's essentially only star players and he has a chance to be a key contributor this time around, as evidenced by his performance against Australia.
Beal is set to be the first active Wizards player to represent Team USA at the Olympics.