COVID-19 Updates: Niang, I. Smith, J. Richardson

Sixers forward Georges Niang has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team announced today (Twitter link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN). Niang has already been ruled out for Wednesday’s game and if he registered a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, he figures to miss several more. He’d have to sit out at least 10 days or return two consecutive negative coronavirus tests at least 24 hours apart before being cleared to exit the protocols.

Several teams have been affected this month by positive COVID-19 tests. Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York, and the Lakers are among the clubs that have had three or more players in the protocols at the same time. The Sixers aren’t at that point yet, but they’ll likely test the rest of the team to make sure they’re not at risk of an outbreak.

Here are more COVID-related updates from around the league:

  • The Hornets announced today (via Twitter) that Ish Smith has cleared the health and safety protocols and is joining LaMelo Ball in the G League on Wednesday to practice with the Greensboro Swarm for reconditioning purposes. Smith and Ball will have to pass cardiac tests before they get the OK to return to action for Charlotte.
  • Celtics wing Josh Richardson, who entered the protocols last Friday, has been cleared and returned to practice today, per head coach Ime Udoka (Twitter link via Jared Weiss of The Athletic). Richardson, who is rumored to be unvaccinated, may have been a close contact of someone who tested positive rather than registering a positive test himself.
  • Pat Graham of The Associated Press takes a look at how the NBA schedule has been impacted by COVID-19 for the first time this season and notes that the league’s new booster-related guidelines will go into effect this Friday.
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