Nuggets vs. Nets, Full List of NBA Game Postponements amid COVID-19 OutbreaksDecember 19, 2021
With the omicron variant of COVID-19 surging worldwide, the NBA is having to adapt on the fly.
The league announced five games have been postponed after an increasing number of players and team staffers entered health and safety protocols:
Sunday, Dec. 19
Denver Nuggets at Brooklyn Nets
Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks
New Orleans Hornets at Philadelphia 76ers
Monday, Dec. 20
Orlando Magic at Toronto Raptors
Tuesday, Dec. 21
Washington Wizards at Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets are a perfect microcosm for the difficulties some NBA teams are facing.
With their roster significantly reduced for the time being, the Nets announced plans to welcome back Kyrie Irving as a part-time player. Irving has yet to play this season because of his failure to adhere to New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
One day after Brooklyn's announcement, the star guard entered the league's health and safety protocols, prolonging his hiatus from the team.
The NBA staged the 2020-21 season without having to initiate a leaguewide pause. An outbreak among the Washington Wizards forced them to remain dormant for more than a week, but that was an exception.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Baxter Holmes reported Friday there was "an overwhelming sentiment" among team governors to avoid postponing or canceling games. The omicron variant is causing problems on a scale that may force the NBA's hand to an even larger degree.
According to Wojnarowski and Holmes, the NBA is attempting to combat the present situation by requiring teams to sign players to replace those in health and safety protocols.
There's also some within the league who are advocating for allowing asymptomatic players to suit up. The NFL made a similar change to its COVID-19 protocols in the wake of outbreaks among multiple teams.