Sources: Wizards eye midweek return to practice

Despite reeling with six remaining healthy players, the Washington Wizards are hopeful they can resume practicing as soon as Wednesday — nine days after the franchise’s last game amid a coronavirus outbreak within the team, sources told ESPN on Monday.

Through a difficult stretch of seven positive coronavirus tests among players — a player and a staff member tested positive on Monday, sources confirmed — a resumption of the Wizards’ season could be close midweek should the franchise avoid new positive tests on Tuesday and Wednesday, sources said.

The NBA postponed a fifth consecutive Wizards game — this time, against Charlotte on Wednesday — and it remained unclear whether the NBA would push the Wizards to play a scheduled game against Milwaukee on Friday. Even if the Wizards are able to muster eight eligible players for Friday, the NBA could decide to give the franchise more time to ramp up its available players for a return to NBA-level caliber.

The Wizards could soon start to get players cleared under coronavirus protocols to resume participation midweek, sources said. Players testing positive for the coronavirus must isolate between 10 to 14 days, depending on individual recovery periods.

The Wizards are 3-8 on the season, and they lost starting center Thomas Bryant to a torn ACL in his left knee on Jan. 9. The Wizards applied for a $4.2 million disabled player exception, sources said, which will allow them a slot to acquire a player for a contract that runs through the end of the season.

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are discussing adding a two-way roster spot for teams during the pandemic, sources told ESPN. A two-way contract allows for a player — on a partial $450,000 salary — to participate in 50 of the 72 regular-season games in the truncated season.

The Washington Post first reported the Wizards’ two new positive tests for the coronavirus on Monday.

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