NBA Says It 'Will Follow The Science' As Coronavirus Cases Rise

For the first two months of the NBA season, the league operated with something close to the status quo: full arenas and full rosters as ...


For the first two months of the NBA season, the league operated with something close to the status quo: full arenas and full rosters as teams fit for the new standard of play during the coronavirus pandemic.

But amid a recent wave of players and coaches who have landed in the NBA’s Covid-19 health and safety protocols, the league finds itself grappling with familiar challenges and concerns.

Positive tests. Practices canceled. And the looming possibility of more postponed games just as the NBA approaches what some fans see as its true opening day: a five-game roster on Christmas Day.

On Tuesday, the Nets announced that six other players, including James Harden, had joined Paul Millsap in protocols, meaning they had tested positive for the coronavirus or had been in close contact with someone who had it. do. That left the Nets with a very short rotation for their home game against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night. The Los Angeles Lakers, meanwhile, canceled training after Talen Horton-Tucker entered protocols before the team flew to Dallas for a game against the Mavericks on Wednesday.

Once in protocols, players cannot resume play until they have self-isolated for 10 days or returned two negative test results at least 24 hours apart.

These developments came a day after the league announced it was postpone a pair of Chicago Bulls games this week after 10 of the squad’s players, along with other staff, landed in protocols. Those two games – against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday and the Raptors on Thursday – were the league’s first postponements of the season.

“Like the rest of the country, and as our infectious disease specialists predicted, we have seen an increase in cases in the league,” said Mike Bass, spokesperson for the NBA. “As we have done since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, we will continue to monitor science and data and, in close partnership with the players’ association, update our protocols as our medical experts deem appropriate. . “

All Bulls players have been vaccinated, according to two league sources who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss players’ vaccine statuses.

The league said more than 97% of its players are fully vaccinated and more than 60% of those eligible have received boosters. The players’ union did not accept a vaccine mandate before the start of the season. A few players, such as the Nets’ Kyrie Irving and Washington’s Bradley Beal, have said they don’t want to get the shot.

Last season the league and players union reported more than 75 positive tests among players, most of them before vaccines became widely available. More than 30 games have been postponed.

Given the possibility that players may have been exposed to the virus during Thanksgiving rallies this year, the league and union have agreed to institute mandatory testing on November 28, 29 and 30. Prior to that, vaccinated players were only tested if they showed symptoms or had been around someone who tested positive.

CJ McCollum, President of the Players Union, recently told the New York Times that he encouraged players to get vaccinated and receive reminders, and that he did not allow unvaccinated people into his home. Further testing, he said, “just makes sense.”

“I think when we explain to people the importance of knowing – there’s a lot that goes unnoticed in terms of being positive, but being asymptomatic,” he said. “So I think the tests during the holidays when people are on planes or traveling, families are coming in from out of town, you come together, you are more exposed. “

Since Thanksgiving, the league has seen an increase in the number of positive cases among players and staff. Last week, the Indiana Pacers and Raptors each canceled practices over what both teams described as “an abundance of caution.” The Charlotte Hornets had several players in the protocols, including their top player, LaMelo ball, who won the NBA Rookie of the Year award last season.

And earlier this week, two members of the Raptors broadcast team volunteered to step down after learning they had been exposed to someone outside of the Raptors organization who had tested positive.

The Lakers’ LeBron James was in protocols earlier this month after testing positive. Follow-up tests were negative, indicating that the first test was a false positive. James said before the season he was vaccinated.

Sopan Deb and Tania Ganguli contributed to this report.

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Newsrust - US Top News: NBA Says It 'Will Follow The Science' As Coronavirus Cases Rise
NBA Says It 'Will Follow The Science' As Coronavirus Cases Rise
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