Boston Celtics short-handed for game vs. Miami Heat; Jayson Tatum in protocol, followed by Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal


BOSTON — The Boston Celtics could find themselves extremely short-handed for their game against the Miami Heat at TD Garden on Sunday as a result of the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

In the team’s latest injury report, released around 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday, nine of the team’s 17 players were listed — seven of them because of either positive COVID-19 tests or contact tracing as a result of them, including stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.

The Washington Wizards, meanwhile, were without Bradley Beal for their 128-124 home loss to the Miami Heat on Saturday night due to health and safety protocols. He was placed there as a result of contact tracing with Tatum, a source confirmed a report by The Athletic to ESPN.

The two St. Louis natives — who are close friends and share the same trainer, Drew Hanlen — spent much of the game guarding one another and had a conversation on the court afterward.

Washington has already played three teams this week — the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and the Celtics — that have had positive tests and multiple players in the protocols.

“Found out maybe about an hour before the game,” coach Scott Brooks said of Beal’s absence Saturday. “On the one hand, it surprised me. On the other hand, this is what we kind of have to expect to happen. You hate for it to happen. You hope for the best, but don’t know the next step.”

In addition to the three Celtics who had to sit out Friday’s win over Washington — Robert Williams III, who tested positive, and Grant Williams and Tristan Thompson, who were out due to contact tracing — another four appeared on Saturday’s report: Tatum, who was listed as doubtful; and Brown, Javonte Green and Semi Ojeleye, who were all questionable.

If those seven — along with Romeo Langford (wrist) and Kemba Walker (knee), who remain out with injuries — are all deemed unable to play in Sunday’s game, Boston would be down to the bare minimum of eight available players to face Miami. Six of those players — Marcus Smart, Jeff Teague, Payton Pritchard, Carsen Edwards, Tremont Waters and Aaron Nesmith — are guards, in addition to centers Daniel Theis and Tacko Fall.