Scott Brooks: some Wizards players still feeling effects from COVID-19 outbreak

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Chase Hughes
·3 min read
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Some Wizards players are still feeling effects from COVID-19 outbreak originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Wizards have been back playing games for about a month now, have won three straight and are 6-5 in their last 11. Things are starting to even out for them, yet head coach Scott Brooks says he is still seeing signs of the coronavirus outbreak that made them postpone six games in the middle of January.

"I think they’re still working through it," Brooks said. "I don’t want to go into specifics and which guys more than others, but I think all of them are still working through it. We can see it. Some guys get winded quick. It’s nothing like anybody has ever dealt with."

The Wizards had nine players enter health and safety protocol, six tested positive and at least two showed symptoms. When they first returned to games on Jan. 24, they were missing many key players including Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura. 

Most of the players who returned from Covid-19 protocol took several games to get up to speed. Bertans just recently broke out by shooting 5-for-6 from three on Monday against the Rockets and then 9-for-11 on Wednesday against the Nuggets.

Hachimura has now scored in double figures in six straight games. Others who were in protocol like Ish Smith and Moe Wagner have had some big games.

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But collectively, Brooks still sees some lingering effects and not only with their health.

"You kind of forget this because you think these guys are just like video game players and they don’t have emotions. [It affected] their confidence. When you don’t play well and you’re winded and you don’t shoot the ball well, things don’t go well, your team isn’t playing well; you lose confidence. That’s another mental aspect of it that you have to deal with," Brooks said.

The subject was brought up to Brooks after Thursday's practice by a San Antonio Spurs reporter. The Spurs are currently going through what the Wizards did a month ago, with four consecutive games now postponed.

Brooks said the Spurs, under head coach Gregg Popovich, should be in better shape than the Wizards were because they aren't the first team to go through it. The Wizards had no precedent to turn to.

"You’re scared, you’re worried. You always want everybody to get over it as quick as you can. But from a basketball standpoint, it’s as mentally challenging as I’ve ever had anything to deal with. As a player, as an assistant, as a head coach; there’s nothing like it I’ve had to deal with before," Brooks said. 

"I’ve never had something that I was never able to look back and take from my past experience or even take from another coach’s past experience and then be able to navigate through it. It’s something that nobody has had."

The Wizards lost their first four games coming out of the outbreak while also having at the time their four lowest-scoring games of the season. That creates a fairly big caveat when you evaluate their 9-17 record for the season.

The only positive may be that their outbreak happened early in the season. They came out of it and now have time to turn things around.

"I don’t want to go through it again. You don’t want anybody to go through it," Brooks said.