Two more NBA games postponed as league considers changes to COVID-19 safety protocols

Two more NBA games have been delayed due to COVID-19, the league announced Monday, adding that it will consider changing its coronavirus safety protocols.

Monday’s game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavericks in Texas and Tuesday’s game between the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls in Illinois were both delayed to follow the NBA’s COVID-19 rules. 

The NBA did not specify if additional players had tested positive, but CBS News noted that the Mavericks have listed players Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Richardson and Jalen Brunson as “out” since Friday. They did not participate in the game on Saturday against the Orlando Magic.   

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"Today's game was postponed by the league not because of a depleted roster, but to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and team personnel," a Mavericks spokesperson told CBS News. 

In the NBA’s statement on the two games, it said the league and the National Basketball Players Association union will meet Monday “about modifying the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.”

 

The league’s coronavirus regulations requires players who test COVID-19 positive and are asymptomatic to sit out for 10 days after their test and pass health screenings before returning to games or practice. 

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Players who test positive and display symptoms will have to sit out for an additional 10 days after they stop showing symptoms. Any positive tests of players will prompt a team’s training center to close. 

The NBA bans players from going to bars, clubs and gyms as well as going to live sporting events and social gatherings with more than 15 people. Punishments for disobeying the regulations can include fines, suspensions, forfeited games and lost draft picks. 

The league strayed from its COVID-19 protocols at the end of its 2019-2020 season, in which teams all played in a “bubble” environment at Disney World in Orlando. Instead, the NBA has planned to allow teams to travel the country.

But as players returned for training in December, 48 of 546 players tested positive for COVID-19, and the first game of the season between the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed.