Bradley Beal said the Washington Wizards are "fighting the league" on playing Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks with only eight players available and six Wizards sidelined by the NBA's health and safety protocol.
After a nine-day pause because of a coronavirus outbreak within the team that led to the postponement of five games, the Wizards were finally cleared to return to practice Wednesday evening. But the team had only eight players available and basically did light shooting, according to coach Scott Brooks.
"We weren't able to get into a gym for a week," said Beal, whose team hasn't played since Jan. 11 against the Phoenix Suns. "That alters guys' rhythm, shape -- that is just like a recipe for injury, honestly. I think we are fighting the league on it."
With a lack of healthy bodies and little conditioning, Beal said that he and Russell Westbrook planned to talk to Michele Roberts, the National Basketball Players Association executive director, about the Wizards' options to stay safe.
Beal said that in addition to the Wizards wanting to stay injury-free, players around the league have had "mixed feelings" about wanting to continue to play and make money while also keeping themselves and their loved ones safe.
"We already have guys out with injury," Beal said. "Now we have a huge chunk of our team, like over 50%, with the virus now ... we hear from the league tonight, hear from them tomorrow and see what they want to do."
The Wizards, who are scheduled to start a four-game road trip at Milwaukee on Friday, listed Davis Bertans, Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija, Troy Brown Jr., Ish Smith and Moritz Wagner out for the game against the Bucks due to health and safety protocols.
Westbrook (quad) was reevaluated this week and remains out and Thomas Bryant (left ACL) is out for the season. Westbrook did some light work on the court Wednesday night and will travel with the team on the upcoming road trip. But Brooks said he wasn't sure when Westbrook will be cleared to play.
Brooks said the team wasn't able to practice until Wednesday evening. The Wizards are scheduled to practice again on Thursday morning with about 15 to 16 hours between the two sessions before playing the Bucks.
"It is going to put us in a very difficult position to have a game Friday night," Brooks said. "If they make us play the game, obviously we have to play the game. I don't know how we are going to be able to play it but we are going to do the best we can, whatever the league tells us what to do. I believe in the league."
"[COVID-19] is around everyone," Brooks said. "This is not a hoax. There are over 400,000 Americans [who] have passed away with this virus. And we take it serious. You are obviously concerned."