A spike in COVID cases has decimated NBA rosters. Two more games have been canceled and the league’s health and safety protocols will be reviewed.
An ongoing spike in COVID cases has put the NBA season on increasingly shaky ground. Several teams have been hit by positive test results over the past few days and the accompanying quarantining of close contacts of those players has made it hard for some teams to even field full rosters.
The 76ers played a game this weekend with just eight players and three rookies taking more than 60 percent of their shot attempts. Sunday’s game between the Celtics and Heat was canceled because the Celtics couldn’t even field the minimum of eight available players — Jayson Tatum and Robert Williams had both tested positive and five of their teammates were required to quarantine as close contacts.
Now the NBA has announced that two additional games will be canceled — Monday’s matchup between the Mavericks and Pelicans, and Tuesday’s game between the Celtics and Bulls. The Celtics’ game is canceled because their current quarantine situation will not be resolved by then. The Mavericks’ game is canceled because of a new positive test for one of their players, as yet unnamed, that was received Monday morning.
What’s next for the NBA season?
Buried at the end of the official press release announcing these changes is a note that the league and the NBA Player’s Association would meet today to discuss changes to the league’s health and safety protocols. One would hope that the focus will be on adding measures to reduce the spread of the virus and not lowering the length or standards of quarantine to allow teams to field full rosters for some of these games.
One other interesting tidbit is the lightly reported detail that the current protocols may include a provision for each player to receive up to two total guests during the course of each road trip, with no testing provisions required for those guests. The veracity of this detail has not been confirmed by the league but it seems like an obvious issue that could be contributing to the current spread.
The league has said it is not considering pausing the season until the numbers go down but the pressure has to be increasing for them to seriously consider this option.