As of Thursday, it was reported that in total, 63 players had entered the League’s health and safety protocols, including 47 entering in December. Just hours later, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association agreed to new COVID protocols that will run through the holiday season, including daily testing and increased use of masks for two weeks starting on December 26, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
ESPN Sources: The NBA and NBPA have agreed to new Covid protocols for the Christmas holidays, including daily testing and increased use of masks. Fifty-two players have gone into the league’s protocols this month.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 17, 2021
The League will hold daily testing for all players and Tier 1 personnel from December 26 to January 8, including no testing during off-days while fully boosted individuals or those recently recovered from the virus are exempt from testing. Per a memo obtained by ESPN, masks will be required for all personnel in the locker room, on the bench, in weight and training rooms, and while traveling.
Since Wojnarowski initially reported, a slew of players had entered protocols on Thursday night, increasing the number up to 59 with the Celtics’ Al Horford and Grant Williams, the Magic’s Terrence Ross, Moe Wagner, and R.J. Hampton, and Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley entering protocols Friday morning.
Pacers coach Rick Carlisle, Kings interim coach Alvin Gentry and Toronto’s president Masai Ujiri entered protocols in December as well.
While testing for fully vaccinated players was not in the cards at the beginning of the season, an uptick in cases and numerous outbreaks amongst teams across the League compelled organizations to conduct widespread testing, leading the NBA and NBPA to discuss modified protocols.