NBA and union toughen protocols, another game postponed

USA AP – With four games postponed this week and more teams grappling with sanitary protocols, the NBA and the players’ union approved additional rules that seek to keep the season afloat.

Among the new measures: “at least for the next two weeks,” according to the league and the union, players and staff will remain in their residences when they are in their cities. They will be prohibited from leaving their hotels or receiving guests when they go on tour.

Several of the rules are similar to those that applied during the NBA bubble when last season it resumed at the Walt Disney World complex in Florida last year.

Orlando’s game in Boston on Wednesday was also postponed, the fourth since Sunday and the third involving the Celtics. Boston has eight players disabled for being on the NBA’s COVID-19 list, that is, they tested positive or could be exposed to an infected person.

“We are going to follow what the NBA says,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said. “They are the experts. They are the ones who handle the medical information, all the science, all the data. I’m going to do everything the NBA asks of us ”.

Earlier in the day, the Washington Wizards reported that two of their players entered NBA sanitary protocol. The Magic are due to face the Celtics on Friday in Boston, but no determination has been made on that game.

“I feel like I’m living my life inside a box,” Portland guard Damian Lillard said. “I go to training, come home and nothing else.”

When teams began testing in late November for the preseason, 48 players tested positive for COVID-19. In the last four weeks, the league has registered seven positives from players, which in part explains that the NBA and the owners do not believe that the season should be interrupted.

Among the additional measures adopted on Tuesday is a new rule that prohibits pregame meetings in the dressing rooms that last more than 10 minutes. And everyone present at those meetings will have to wear a mask. Meetings in larger spaces, such as a court, should be held in compliance with social distancing and with masks.

Players should restrict their interactions with other players with elbow or fist touches, without giving too much away. And when a change is made during the game, the player will go to sit in “rest” chairs without the mask, but will put the mask on when returning to the bench area in his assigned seat.

According to the most recent information released by the teams, although the figures change from one moment to the next, it seems that at least 36 players in the league at the beginning of the day on Tuesday are dealing with some circumstance related to the virus.

Those situations include players who are disabled because contact tracing data indicates they were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

“We’re in a tough situation from COVID,” Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said after his decimated team lost to Atlanta on Monday night. “You can’t do much. I suspect that many teams will encounter this problem ”.

Miami was getting ready to face Philadelphia on Tuesday without eight players due to problems caused by the virus and contact tracing, something that affected the Heat after playing in Washington on Saturday.

Boston’s game in Chicago on Tuesday was postponed by the virus, as were the Dallas-New Orleans on Monday and the Heat-Celtics in Boston on Sunday.

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