Source AP: NBA, the players’ union could return to daily tests

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are improving their health and safety protocols in response to the increased number of coronaviruses in the league, a person familiar with the negotiations said.

Among the most significant changes: The league and union are working to finalize a plan to return to daily testing for players and coaches, at least in the short term, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday under cover. anonymity because nothing had been finalized or publicly announced.

Fully vaccinated players have not needed daily testing this season. The league and union were already set to start daily testing on Friday for those who have yet to receive recalls, and can now simply expand those plans.

The league said about 97% of players are vaccinated, and just over 60% of them are boosted. But there were 33 players known to be in league health and safety protocols Wednesday night, as well as two head coaches – Rick Carlisle of Indiana and interim Sacramento coach Alvin Gentry – and a certain number of other staff.

Among the big players currently excluded: Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee and James Harden of Brooklyn. The league has postponed two games this week involving the Chicago Bulls, who currently have 10 players, a league-high, in protocols.

“I feel like we can go back to some of the things we did last year, which clearly wasn’t fun,” Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said on Wednesday. “But we’ve been through the season, so I guess it’s the sacrifice. If this is what we have to do, we have to do it.

Another big change that is already certain: the Toronto Raptors will have to limit attendance to 50% of their capacity, at least for now.

Ontario officials ordered the participation limit on Wednesday, which will affect the Raptors, NHL Toronto Maple Leafs and others. The Raptors were already planning to launch a new initiative called “Operation Mask Up (or out)” on Saturday, requiring “that all participants strictly adhere to all mask-wearing protocols or risk being ejected from the building.”

The Raptors Ownership Group also said it “strongly encourages all fans to get vaccinated and closely follow all public health protocols to protect each other and our community as a whole.”

The NHL is also planning improved protocols through early January, in response to the increased numbers. Several NFL teams were also affected this week, with some being forced to work remotely after several positive tests.

“Yes, I am worried. I’m just worried in general, ”Rivers said. “You see football and hockey and we see basketball. It’s just a lot right now. It is a lot nationwide. Obviously, outside of sport as well. It’s clearly a concern, that’s for sure. “

Some players have been taken out of protocols in recent days, including Charlotte playmaker LaMelo Ball. He was ruled out for Wednesday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs and continues to work on his conditioning.

Players in health and safety protocols must be sidelined for at least 10 days or record two negative COVID-19 tests within a 24-hour period before they can resume basketball activities.

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AP sports editors Dan Gelston in Philadelphia and Steve Reed in Charlotte, NC contributed to this report.

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More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



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