Wizards’ Bradley Beal available to play despite COVID exposure to Celtics’ Jayson Tatum

Long-time friends Beal and Tatum greeted each other after the game.

Bradley Beal is available to play after being exposed to COVID via Jayson Tatum.
Bradley Beal is available to play after being exposed to COVID via Jayson Tatum. –Photo by John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal is available to play Monday against the Phoenix Suns despite his exposure to Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum on Friday, according to the Athletic’s Fred Katz.

Beal sat out Washington’s game against the Miami Heat on Saturday after Tatum reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. Beal and Tatum spoke briefly after Friday’s game. The duo — who are both from St. Louis and are long-time friends — greeted one another. Smiling, they leaned close to talk so cameras wouldn’t be able to pick up their words. That action apparently triggered the NBA’s protocols.

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Tatum’s positive test sent several Celtics players to the inactive list due to health and safety protocols. Jaylen Brown, Semi Ojeleye and Javonte Green were all ruled out for Boston’s scheduled game against the Heat on Sunday before Miami’s own COVID protocols forced the game to be postponed.

The NBA has determined that it is difficult to pass the virus during a game, since transmission generally occurs between individuals who have had close contact — i.e. within 6 feet — for 15 minutes or more. Beal and Tatum didn’t speak for 15 minutes, but their proximity seems to have resulted in Beal’s brief absence from the Washington roster.

Beal has put up staggering numbers this season, averaging 35 points per game with shooting splits of 48.9/38.6/87.2 as the Wizards stumbled out of the gate. He scored 60 points in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers before pouring in 41 as the Celtics defeated Washington on Friday.

The short-handed Celtics are scheduled to take on the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday.

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