LOS ANGELES, Jan 14 — Game postponements were piling up on Wednesday as the NBA’s measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus left teams with too few players to take the court.
The league said Wednesday evening that a pair of Friday games — Washington at Detroit and Golden State at Phoenix — had been postponed because contact tracing within the Wizards and Suns meant the teams would not have the league-required eight available players.
The league had earlier postponed the Suns’ scheduled clash against the Atlanta Hawks, one of three contests originally set for Wednesday that had to be called off.
Nine games have now been scratched as the season heads into its fourth week.
The league and its players union updated Covid-19 health and safety protocols on Tuesday aimed at keeping players healthy and available to play.
The new measures were imposed “in response to the surge of Covid-19 cases across the country and an uptick among NBA teams requiring potential player quarantines,” a league statement said.
On Wednesday the league released its latest Covid-19 test figures, saying that of 497 players tested since January 6, 16 new players had returned confirmed positive tests.
For at least the next two weeks, players and team staffers are required to remain at their residence at all times when the club is at home except to attend team-related activities, exercise outside or perform essential activities, except in extraordinary circumstances.
Those beefed-up protocols have attracted criticism from some players, with Oklahoma City Thunder guard George Hill questioning the restrictions now being enforced which limit contacts and movement during road trips.
“I’m a grown man. I’m gonna do what I want to do,” Hill said after the Thunder’s 112-102 loss to San Antonio.
“If I want to go see my family, I’m going to go see my family. They can’t tell me I have to stay in a room 24/7. If it’s that serious, then maybe we shouldn’t be playing. But it’s life; no one’s going to be able to just cancel their whole life for this game.” — AFP