DECEMBER 27: The NBA and NBPA have agreed to adjust the minimum required quarantine period for a vaccinated COVID-positive player to six days, reports Wojnarowski (Twitter links). A player who continues to test positive can be cleared after six days in quarantine if testing data shows he’s no longer at risk of being infectious.
According to Wojnarowski, the new rule – which also applies to coaches – is expected to immediately impact many players currently in the health and safety protocols. That suggests we could see a significant number of players cleared within the next day or two.
DECEMBER 23: The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are nearing an agreement to reduce the minimum quarantine period for COVID-positive players, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).
Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter) initially reported today that the two sides were engaged in discussions on the subject after commissioner Adam Silver mentioned the possibility during an interview with ESPN earlier in the week.
Currently, the quarantine period for a player who tests positive for COVID-19 is 10 days. However, the league and the players’ union could agree to lower it to as few as six days in certain cases, per Charania and Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
The NBA and NBPA are consulting with their own infectious disease specialists and are studying research models from around the world before finalizing a decision, Wojnarowski explains.
Silver stated in his ESPN appearance on Tuesday that the viral load of a COVID-positive player can be ascertained during the testing process and suggested that it might be safe for such a player to return to action if his viral load drops below a certain threshold, since the risk of transmitting the virus would drop significantly. A player’s vaccination status may also be a factor in determining his required quarantine period.
“I think (medical experts are) already realizing that you can move away from the 10-day protocol when you have players who are vaccinated and boosted,” Silver told ESPN’s Malika Andrews on Tuesday. “It seems that the virus runs through their systems faster. They become not just asymptomatic but – more importantly – they’re not shedding the virus anymore.”
It’s unclear how quickly the new guidelines might go into effect if and when the NBA and NBPA reach an agreement.