Report: NBA to Allow Teams to Sign Replacement Players For Players With COVID-19

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 20, 2021

TIANJIN, CHINA - 2021/12/18: Logo of NBA and decorated basketballs of an NBA flagship store.  The American Professional Basketball League (NBA), has become the most popular sports league in China, and opened many stores in China's shopping centers. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

The NBA and NBPA have reportedly reached an agreement that will allow teams to sign one replacement player for every rostered player who tests positive for COVID-19, per multiple reports, and will be required to sign a replacement player if they post two positive tests.

Additionally, two-way players will no longer have a cap on the total number of appearances that they can make during the season. 

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

NBA teams can now sign one replacement player for each roster player who tests positive for Covid, sources tell ESPN.

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Another key note in NBA's roster rule changes for flexibility amid pandemic: <br><br>Two-way players -- who previously had 50-game max -- now have no limit on the number of games they can appear in, sources said. <a href="https://t.co/TjwvKcHP9y">https://t.co/TjwvKcHP9y</a>

ESPN's Baxter Holmes and Adrian Wojnarowski added that teams reportedly won't be allowed to add a replacement player if they can field a roster of 13 players or if they have fewer than four players sidelined.

The news comes amid a growing list of players around the NBA finding themselves in the league's health and safety protocols. As of Sunday evening, the league had already postponed seven games. 

COVID-19 issues are not limited to the NBA regarding professional sports, however.

The NHL has seen around 70 players put in its own health and safety protocols and has postponed a number of games. The league also put in place stricter protocols, including daily testing, and has halted any cross-border travel between the United States and Canada through Jan. 1.

Meanwhile, the NFL bumped one game back to Monday night (Las Vegas Raiders vs. Cleveland Browns, originally scheduled for Saturday) and two games back to Tuesday (Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Football Team and Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams, both originally scheduled for Sunday) amid coronavirus outbreaks on rosters.

Nearly two years after the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to sports, the Omicron variant and an upsurge in cases around sports has yet again become a major issue. Now, NBA teams may be forced to field teams with multiple replacement players as the league and the NBPA looks to avoid a temporary stoppage in play.