The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have reached an agreement to adjust the league’s COVID-19 protocols amidst a wave of positive tests among players and coaches, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. ESPN obtained a memo stating that the NBA will increase testing and face mask use for players and staff during the holiday season.
Beginning on December 26, players and staffers – besides those who received their booster shot at least 14 days ago or those who recently recovered from the virus – will be tested for COVID-19 on game days. For most of the season, vaccinated players haven’t been tested unless they showed symptoms or were a close contact of someone who contracted the virus.
Additionally, as Wojnarowski details, players and staffers will be required to wear face masks on the bench, in their team’s workout facility, and while traveling with the team.
With so many teams shorthanded and taking advantage of the hardship provision to sign extra players, sources tell Wojnarowski that there’s been some league-wide discussion about finding an easier way to expand rosters.
The Magic added forward Ignas Brazdeikis to their injury report on Thursday night due to the health and safety protocols, making Orlando the 12th team to have at least one player currently in the protocols. A 13th team – Indiana – has its head coach, Rick Carlisle, in the protocols.
Of course, that number seems very likely to change in one direction or the other by the end of the day, since players are entering and exiting the protocols with increasing frequency this month. Lakers guard Malik Monk was the latest player to test out of the protocols on Thursday, per Wojnarowski and ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (Twitter link).