The Wizards didn’t find out that Bradley Beal wouldn’t be able to play Saturday night until an hour before game time, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic. Beal has been placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols because of contact tracing, which normally sidelines a player for seven days, assuming he continues to test negative for COVID-19. He landed there because of a post-game conversation Friday night with Boston’s Jayson Tatum, who subsequently tested positive for the virus.
A source tells Katz the league is still reviewing the Beal situation and hasn’t decided how long he will have to sit out. Washington has upcoming games that could be affected on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“The NBA is really serious about this thing,” Rui Hachimura said. “We gotta (wear) masks on the bench and stuff, those kinds of stuff, and we gotta follow the rules. And we have to be ready. Any time — who knows? — someone (could) get injured or someone (could) get (ineligible). Brad just got called, and he can’t play right before the game. So, someone’s gotta step up and be ready every night.”
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- The Wizards may have suffered a significant loss Saturday night when starting center Thomas Bryant had to leave the game after hurting his left knee in the first quarter, Katz adds in the same story. An MRI will be conducted today to determine the extent of the damage, and a source tells Katz there’s hope it’s an injury to the MCL rather than the ACL. “T.B. is a huge part of what we do on both ends of the floor, and he’s been playing big for us,” Robin Lopez said. “… I hope everything turns out OK. I’m not sure what the status is right now, but we love having him on the floor. I love playing with him. I hope he’s OK.”
- Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball entered the NBA record book Saturday, becoming the youngest player ever to post a triple-double. Sam Amick of The Athletic expects Ball to eventually replace Devonte’ Graham as the starting point guard, but admits it’s a difficult decision for coach James Borrego because Gordon Hayward handles so much of the playmaking for the first unit.
- Magic center Mohamed Bamba is still playing catchup after the effects of a summer coronavirus case extended into this season, writes Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel. Bamba wasn’t cleared for contact work until December 16, and limited practice opportunities because of the condensed schedule have slowed his attempt to get back into game condition.