NBA and NBPA agree to new COVID-19 protocols and increased testing
As the NBA tries to strengthen itself against waves of positive COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, the league will increase daily testing and use of face masks for players and staff during the holiday season, according to a note. obtained by ESPN.
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have agreed to increase testing for two weeks starting December 26. Players and staff will be tested on match days, with the exception of those who received their booster injection more than 14 days earlier or recently recovered from the virus, the memo mentioned.
Players and staff will be required to wear masks on benches, at team training facilities and when traveling with the team, the note said.
Fifty-two players, Indiana coach Rick Carlisle, Sacramento coach Alvin Gentry and Toronto vice president and president Masai Ujiri adopted health and safety protocols in December and there were epidemics on the Nets, Hornets, Bulls, Lakers and Kings.
Twenty-two players entered protocols on Wednesday and Thursday alone.
Vaccinated players were not required to get tested during the season, but a slight increase in positive cases forced several teams to start testing everyone and a spike in cases ensued. The NBA and NBPA are determined to continue the season without a hiatus, and sources say there have been discussions between the teams to find easier ways to expand the rosters amid COVID-19 outbreaks.
The Chicago Bulls have had the only two NBA games canceled this week – Tuesday against Detroit and Thursday against Toronto.
ESPN’s Baxter Holmes contributed to this report.