Thunder's George Hill Says NBA's New COVID-19 Protocol 'Makes No Sense'

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2021

Oklahoma City Thunder guard George Hill (3) drives toward the basket during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Oklahoma City Thunder guard George Hill questioned of the recent changes to the NBA's COVID-19 protocols.

"We wanna play the game...but I don't understand some of the rules," Hill said Tuesday, per Royce Young of ESPN. "We can sweat 48 minutes with a guy next to us for 48 minutes, but we can't talk to them afterwards. It makes no sense."

Players are told to "avoid extended socializing" in pre- and postgame interactions, limiting them to elbow or fist bumps.

There are also restrictions about how much time players spend with their own teammates, including no more than 10 minutes for pregame meetings in locker rooms.

The biggest changes to the protocols include what players can do outside of games.

Players have been told to remain at their residence when home or hotels on the road except for essential activities. They also aren't allowed to have guests in hotel rooms who aren't part of the team.

"I'm a grown man. I'm gonna do what I want to do. If I want to go see my family, I'm going to go see my family," Hill, 34, said Tuesday. "They can't tell me I have to stay in a room 24/7. If it's that serious, then maybe we shouldn't be playing. But it's life; no one's going to be able to just cancel their whole life for this game."

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Hill is in his first season with the Thunder after being traded from the Milwaukee Bucks in November. The team is ninth in the Western Conference with a 5-5 record and faces the Los Angeles Lakers at home on Wednesday.