Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal remains in health and safety protocols and will not be able to play for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics, USA Basketball announced on Thursday.
Later on Thursday evening, USA Basketball announced the men’s exhibition scheduled for Friday against Australia was cancelled “out of an abundance of caution.”
Beal was placed under Covid-19 protocols on Wednesday in Las Vegas, where Team USA has been practicing and scrimmaging in advance of the Games.
“I’m dying for him,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “We all are.”
Further, forward Jerami Grant was placed under protocols “out of an abundance of caution,” USA Basketball said.
Reports said Team USA is now working to replace Beal on the Olympic roster.
One option would be a guard from the Select Team that is practicing with the Olympic group in Las Vegas; candidates could include Darius Garland of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Keldon Johnson of the San Antonio Spurs and Saddiq Bey of the Detroit Pistons.
Beal started each of Team USA’s first three exhibition games this month and scored 17 points in the win over Argentina on Tuesday.
The Wizards star is coming off a career scoring season in which he finished second in the NBA behind only Steph Curry with 31.3 points per game, along with 4.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists.
US forward Bam Adebayo said he had checked on Beal, who told him that he had no symptoms. Still, his news was a tough blow to the players who said they have been following safety recommendations and hoped for good health.
Bradley Beal, who was placed under USA Basketball’s health & safety protocols on Wednesday, will remain in protocol & will be unable to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Out of an abundance of caution, Jerami Grant has been placed under health & safety protocols.
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) July 15, 2021
“It still definitely gives you PTSD, somebody catching COVID,” Adebayo said. “I remember when I had it, just one of those things I wouldn’t wish on anybody.”
Beal was expected to play for the Americans two years ago in the Basketball World Cup in China, but had to withdraw from consideration before training camp for family reasons.
After scoring just two points in the Americans’ loss to Nigeria in their opener, he followed with 12 points against Australia and then had 17 on Tuesday against Argentina in the first US victory.
“Bradley, there’s no doubt, he’s a huge loss. He was playing every well, understanding everything and fit in well with the group,” Popovich said. “So there’s no next Bradley Beal.”
The Americans are still scheduled to play Spain on Sunday before heading to Tokyo, with their opening game against France set for July 25.