The NBA’s non-bubble reboot isn’t going so well through the first 10 games. The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics had their game postponed on Sunday after multiple players showed up on the injury report due to health and safety protocols.
A Heat player returned an inconclusive test for COVID-19 and Miami didn’t have the required eight players to proceed. Game cancelled. It marked the second game postponed so far this season as positive COVID-19 tests rage on and seek to alter schedules and stymie lineups.
Naturally, All-Star center Joel Embiid used it as an opportunity to poke fun at the league. The Philadelphia 76ers own the NBA’s best record at 7-3 and continue to “Trust the Process.” Remember, Philly was heavily criticized for their forward-thinking tanking “process” and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver forced the franchise to “shame out” GM Sam Hinkie in 2016. He hand-picked Jerry Colangelo as the replacement in a controversial move that didn’t work out. The bitter sting from that irks Embiid who still “lives rent free in their heads.”
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Heat-Celtics Missing Players, NBA Won’t Halt Season
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA has no plans to pause the season despite thinning rosters because of COVID-19 protocols. The league intends to push though while adhering to contact tracing and the health and safety rules in place.
The Heat-Celtics game was postponed due to a combination of normal injuries and positive tests. Miami had listed three players questionable: guard Goran Dragic (right knee soreness), center Meyers Leonard (left shoulder strain), and forward Kelly Olynyk (left groin contusion). In addition, guard Avery Bradley is expected to miss multiple games while dealing with “health and safety protocols.”
The Celtics ruled out Jaylen Brown, Javonte Green, Semi Ojeleye, Jayson Tatum, Tristan Thompson, Grant Williams and Robert Williams. Both the Celtics and Heat had just played the Washington Wizards who have now been responsible for COVID-19 outbreaks on five different teams: Boston, Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia, Brooklyn.
Heat Remain in Limbo, Subject to Contact Tracing
Miami was supposed to play two straight games against Philadelphia, on Jan. 12 and Jan. 14, to wrap up their four-game road trip. Now they have to quarantine and stay overnight in Boston as they await further testing. It’s a sure-fire way to stop any momentum the team had gained from their 128-124 win over Washington. Here is the NBA’s official contact tracing policy:
In the event an individual returns a positive or inconclusive PCR test result, all teams must actively participate in and comply with a contact tracing program, monitored by the NBA and/or the local public health authority in the team’s market, to facilitate efficient identification of close contacts and other individuals who may have had significant exposure(s) and inform quarantine, testing, monitoring, or other follow-up measures in respect of any such other individual(s).
“These are unique times right now,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said last week, via South Florida Sun Sentinel. “They’re not easy for anybody in this profession. We’re not happy about where we are as a team, but I think it’s important emotionally, mentally and spiritually that we show each other some grace, understanding and empathy right now.”