NBA, NBPA Report 16 New Positive COVID-19 Tests Since January 6

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2021

Denver Nuggets basketballs sit on court in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec.14, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced on Monday that 16 players have tested positive for COVID-19 since Jan. 6. The league tested 497 players in that timespan.

"Anyone who has returned a confirmed positive test, or has been identified as having been in close contact to an infected person, is isolated or quarantined until they are cleared under the rules established by the NBA and the Players Association in accordance with CDC guidelines," the announcement read.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium provided context, noting that 48 players tested positive during the week players returned to training camp from the offseason.

This update comes as the league has dealt with a number of disruptions to its schedule.

ESPN noted Wednesday games between the Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns as well as the Washington Wizards and Utah Jazz, were postponed. There have been six games postponed since Sunday alone and seven during the season.

The ESPN report noted the Suns, Hawks, Wizards, Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers are all dealing with "significant roster depletion in recent days."

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The NBA does have some flexibility in its scheduling because it has not yet released the second half of the schedule for teams. Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim Bontemps of ESPN reported on Tuesday that the league is also implementing new health and safety measures in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

Some of the new rules prevent guests in hotel rooms, permit players to leave hotels only for team activities, limit away-from-work interactions to family and household members, and prevent players from arriving at arenas more than three hours before tipoff for games.

In addition, players can only elbow or fist bump as pregame and postgame interactions with opponents. Coaches, staff and players also must wear their masks on the bench.

The NBA is attempting to play this season in home markets after it didn't have a positive COVID-19 test while finishing the 2019-20 campaign inside the Walt Disney World Resort bubble.