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NBA extending COVID-19 restrictions for non-boosted players amid outbreak of the virus

Vincent Frank

The NBA is dealing with a major outbreak of COVID-19 as the Omicron variant takes hold around the United States.

This included the Association having to postpone 11 games in December alone because teams didn’t have enough “healthy” players to take to the court.

NBA games postponed due to COVID-19

  • Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets (Dec. 30)
  • Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs (Dec. 29)
  • Brooklyn Nets at Portland Trail Blazers (Dec. 23)
  • Toronto Raptors at Chicago Bulls (Dec. 22)
  • Washington Wizards at Brooklyn Nets (Dec. 21)
  • Orlando Magic at Toronto Raptors (Dec. 20)
  • New Orleans Pelicans at Philadelphia 76ers (Dec. 19)
  • Denver Nuggets at Brooklyn Nets (Dec. 19)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks (Dec. 19)
  • Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors (Dec. 16)
  • Detroit Pistons at Chicago Bulls (Dec. 14)

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All said, over 300 players have been placed into the NBA healthy and safety protocols this season.

The NBA is now taking action. A memo sent to teams around the Association Thursday night details an extension of the post-holiday COVID-19 testing program. Said memo also concludes that non-boosted players will be required to conduct daily testing with resctrictions on activities also extended through the All-Star Break.

“As the Omicron variant continues to run roughshod, the NBA is requiring non-boosted players to undergo daily COVID testing through the All-Star break in mid-February and is restricting those players’ attendance at large indoor gatherings, bars and clubs,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday.

Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NBA power rankings

NBA concerned about COVID-19 outbreak as Omicron hits the league

NBA: Utah Jazz at New Orleans Pelicans
Jan 3, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) prepares to shoot a free throw against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

In an interesting twist, Utah Jazz star center Rudy Gobert entered the league’s protocols on Thursday. As you likely already know, Gobert’s positive test back in March of 2020 forced the NBA to suspend the 2019-20 season and restart in the Orlando bubble months later.

This season, it has impacted competitive balance on a league-wide scale. Some of the NBA’s biggest stars have already been placed in the protocols this season. That list includes LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Trae Young and Karl-Anthony Towns, among others.

With no end in sight as it relates to the ongoing influx of COVID-19 casis within the NBA and the broader United States, there has to be concern that this could impact the season moving forward.

While Omicron brings milder symptoms than previous iterations of COVID, the spike in cases has to be seen as concerning. Tuesday alone saw the United States register a record 704,000-plus cases.

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