New guidelines, Booster Day looming as virus disrupts NBA

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DENVER (AP) – There is no game in Chicago on Tuesday, no trip for the Bulls to Toronto for another Thursday.

Just like that, the virus disrupted the daily operations of the NBA.

The Bulls are now closed for at least a few days with 10 players in health and safety protocols. But the impact isn’t limited to Chicago.

Indiana coach Rick Carlisle is missing some games and Raptors president Masai Ujiri tested positive after hosting an event which NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Assistant Commissioner Mark Tatum attended and attended. had to undergo daily testing since then. It’s not just the players and executives, but also the officials and broadcast teams.

All of this underscores what NBA officials have been saying for weeks: The pandemic is still a problem and that’s why Friday is such a priority. Friday is Booster Day, when the biggest percentage in the league won’t be 3-point variety.


Current NBA data indicates that over 60% of players have received their boosters. Under the new guidelines, this potentially means that around 150 players would now be subject to daily testing again.

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have urged players and staff to get vaccinated against the coronavirus in recent weeks. On Friday, the latest league guidelines will be implemented.

Lately there have been many stark reminders that this virus is far from over and will not go away anytime soon. In addition to the Bulls’ exhausted roster, with Carlisle staying on the sidelines due to health and safety protocols, Indiana and Toronto have recently had to give up some practices, just in case, and other teams have suffered. further testing to make sure they are safe.

The Pacers and Warriors had two officials for Monday night’s game, the third regarding health and safety protocols. The Raptors have also announced that their broadcast team will self-isolate as a precaution after contact with someone who tests positive.

Pacers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce succinctly summed up the current state of the virus replacing Carlisle last Friday when he said he was “always happy when you come onto the pitch. … With the state of COVID, there is always something going on.

The NHL had already postponed some games this season and on Monday, with the announcement that two Bulls games were called off, the NBA joined hockey at the postponed club. The league has always expected postponements to be possible again this season. About 30 games were moved last season, but all were eventually played.

A provision in the league’s new recall guidelines states that a team member who has not received their recall by Friday – with few exceptions – will no longer be able to gain in-person access with players, coaches and referees. In addition, staff members will be prohibited from joining their clubs while traveling by car.

As for players who have not received their booster, they will be re-tested on match day, and the league will reserve the right to impose additional tests on their respective teams if necessary in the future.

Ujiri announced that he was among those who tested positive for the virus after recently attending his charity event. In a statement from the team, Ujiri said, “We don’t want to live in fear of this virus, but COVID is a persistent enemy. Together we will defeat him.

The Bulls’ roster: Zach LaVine, Troy Brown Jr., DeMar DeRozan, Matt Thomas, Coby White, Javonte Green, Derrick Jones Jr., Ayo Dosunmu, Stanley Johnson and now Alize Johnson.

Players in health and safety protocols must be sidelined for at least 10 days or record two negative COVID-19 tests within a 24-hour period before they can resume their basketball activities.

“I guess that’s part of the world we live in right now,” Bulls center Nikola Vucevic said recently. “This whole situation with COVID, a lot of it doesn’t make a lot of sense right now. Obviously, scientists and everyone in the world don’t have the answers, so I certainly don’t. “

Vucevic explained that when he tested positive, he wouldn’t even have known it. He said he had no symptoms other than a “little cold, and if it hadn’t been for COVID, I wouldn’t have even thought of anything else.” …

“When there are a lot of guys like that at the same time, it’s difficult. Our only hope is that no one else is positive. “

Carlisle missed a game against his former team, the Dallas Mavericks. Pierce stepped in and tried to keep things as routine as possible – following in Carlisle’s footsteps. It worked, with the Pacers beating the Mavs 106-93.

Yet it was an anxious 24 hours for the Pacers before the denunciation as they waited for the return of all tests.

“Other than the scary one, I think everyone was happy that we had a day off, to be honest,” Pacers forward / center Domantas Sabonis said after the win. “I was happy. I’ve been in the protocol for five days. So I tested. I knew I was good. We had to make sure no one else was positive.

The NBA is stepping up its game because it’s all part of the territory – always.

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AP Basketball writer Tim Reynolds and AP Sports writer Andrew Seligman contributed to this report.

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