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Early Covid-19 outbreak, bad sign for the NBA

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Just two weeks into the 2020-2021 season and the NBA has had a significant Covid-19 outbreak. With many players out due to protocols, keeping track of who is available and who is not requires a scorecard. Before we discuss the impact on the league, let’s note some of the protocols before a player can return.

A player testing positive can return with two negative tests at least 24 hours apart or go 10 days or more after the onset of symptoms or the first positive test.  Any player testing positive cannot exercise for at least 10 days and must be monitored upon resumption of activity. Any player in close contact with someone who tested positive must undergo contact tracing and quarantine for a week and test negative before returning to action.

In Boston, Jayson Tatum, Tristan Thompson, Grant Williams and Robert Williams are under quarantine. Robert Williams tested positive for the virus. Tatum will miss 10 to 14 days, while three others were awaiting to contact tracing. The Philadelphia 76ers were hit hard with Seth Curry, Tobias Harris, Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, and Vincent Poirier, and played against the Nuggets with only eight available players. Curry tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, January 7 and didn’t play in that night’s game against the Nets.

In Dallas, the Mavericks will be without Dorian Finney-Smith, Jalen Brunson, and Josh Richardson. It hasn’t been revealed who tested positive, but the mandatory quarantine of 10 days is required and others will be isolated for a week. The Wizards Bradley Beal missed the game on Saturday and his status is up in the air after potential exposure to the virus.

The news of so many positives and potential positive cases of Covid-19 so early in the season is disturbing, particularly with the strict protocols in effect. One must wonder if the NBA season will be able to be completed and if so, will it be completed on time and at the cost of how many games. The most important thing in the end is for everyone to remain healthy. That may require pushing the schedule back, reducing the number of games, or returning to a bubble.  Let’s hope it doesn’t come down to that again this season.

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