?>

The NBA is feeling effects of latest COVID-19 surge



In some way, shape, form or fashion, the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols have impacted each of the league’s 30 teams less than two months into the 2021-22 season.

Midway through the month of December, over 20 players are currently in the health and safety protocols, with 10 members of the Bulls placed within the protocols from Dec. 1 to Dec. 13. In addition to the players, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle and Raptors president Masai Ujiri have been forced to take time away from their respective organizations as a result of positive tests for COVID-19.

MORE: NBA’s Health and Safety protocols, explained: When can a player return to play?

This season, the NBA adopted changes to its protocols based on the widespread availability of the COVID-19 vaccine by loosening rules for vaccinated players and teams that reached the 100 percent vaccination threshold. As a result, the large-scale effect of COVID-19 on the NBA seems quite different from what it was during the 2020-21 NBA season when the schedule was created with the inevitable reality of postponements in mind.

Despite the number of players, coaches and executives that have dealt with the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols, the league has only postponed two games. But the lack of postponements doesn’t mean that COVID-19 isn’t still impacting the league.

NBA League Pass: Sign up to unlock live out-of-market games (7-day free trial)

Why have there only been two games postponed in the 2021-22 NBA season?

Unlike last season, the contact tracing process is vastly different given the high vaccination rate among players in the NBA.

Per NBA rules, a team must have at least eight available players to prevent a game from being postponed. NBA roster rules allow a team to have 17 players — 15 on a standard contract and two additional players on a two-way contract.

Players on two-way contracts can dress for a maximum of 50 NBA games.

Given those figures, a team would hypothetically be forced to postpone a game if 10 or more players were unavailable to suit up. This season, however, teams have had the ability to make use of the hardship exemption to exceed typical roster limits and sign players to 10-day contracts until a player is able to return to the active roster.

MORE: What is the NBA’s hardship exemption? Rule helps teams dealing with COVID-19, injuries

A direct result of vaccination availability and a team’s vaccination threshold, players that sign with a team undergo a much different — and less stringent — process to be cleared to join an active roster.

In short, differences in contact tracing and vaccine availability have resulted in fewer cautionary placements into health and safety protocols, which, in turn, has allowed almost every team to roll out at least eight active players.

The Bulls, however, made use of the NBA’s hardship exemption twice as a result of their outbreak.

This season, aside from two games, the show has gone on, but given the high-profile names that have entered health and safety protocols, the show has looked much different at times…

Who has missed time due to the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols this season?

All-Stars Devin Booker and Jaylen Brown missed time during training camp and preseason ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

Booker and Brown are two of six 2021 All-Stars that have been placed in the health and safety protocols this season, while Kyrie Irving has yet to play due to New York City regulations for persons unvaccinated for COVID-19.

MORE: Why Kyrie isn’t in the Nets’ lineup

In addition to that trio, centers Joel Embiid and Nikola Vucevic missed extended time after entering the protocols, while LeBron James was forced to miss one game after a false positive test for COVID-19 resulted in him being placed in the protocols.

MORE: Embiid details battle with COVID-19

Bulls All-Star guard Zach LaVine is the latest big name that is expected to miss at least 10 days after a positive COVID-19 test result.

Notable players placed in health and safety protocols this season

 
Team Player
Hornets LaMelo Ball
Knicks RJ Barrett
Suns Devin Booker
Celtics Jaylen Brown
Bulls DeMar DeRozan
76ers Joel Embiid
76ers Tobias Harris
Celtics Al Horford
Lakers LeBron James
Bulls Zach LaVine
Cavaliers Kevin Love
Bucks Khris Middleton
Grizzlies Ja Morant
Hornets Terry Rozier
Bulls Nikola Vucevic



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.