Wizards place Bradley Beal in COVID-19 protocols
The Washington Wizards have placed All-Star guard Bradley Beal in the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols. He'll miss Thursday's game against the New York Knicks.
Beal told reporters in September that he was not vaccinated against COVID-19. It's not clear if he's been vaccinated since. He missed the Summer Olympics in Tokyo after contracting COVID-19.
Beal, 28, is averaging 23.3 points, 5.9 assists and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 45.6% from the field for the 16-15 Wizards. His scoring average and shooting percentage have both dropped this season from his 2020 production (31.3 points per game, 48.5% field goal rate).
Beal joins a growing list of athletes across sports sidelined by COVID-19 amid a U.S. spike in the Omicron variant. Teams are working with makeshift rosters across the NBA and NFL, and games in both leagues have been postponed with players required to quarantine upon testing positive.
NBA reportedly considering changing quarantine requirement
The NBA and NBPA are reportedly close to reaching an agreement to reduce the required quarantine time after a positive test from 10 days to six. It's not clear how much time Beal will miss. The Wizards have three games in the next six days against the Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat. They have two more games against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls that fall within a 10-day window from Thursday. If Beal tested positive and isn't vaccinated, he runs the increased risk of suffering from a symptomatic case of COVID-19.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a mandate on Wednesday requiring attendees at indoor entertainment venues, including Wizards home Capitol One Arena, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Neither Bowser's office nor arena management Monumental Sports and Entertainment have clarified if that policy will apply to players.
Will Wizards players have to be vaccinated to play home games?
MSE issued a statement to NBC Washington that didn't directly address the question of whether or not players will be required to be vaccinated.
"Between the Mayor's mandate and our own staff policy, everyone entering Capital One Arena will need to be vaccinated by January 15," the statement reads. "We believe we will be able to implement the policy with no disruption in the fan experience or with our team on the floor."
NBC Washington reports that it reached out to Bowser's office "multiple times" for clarification and had yet to receive an answer as of Thursday afternoon.