Disarray Due to COVID in Sports World Continues

NBA postpones 5 mores games, NHL shuts down 2 more teams
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 20, 2021 2:02 AM CST
Disarray Due to COVID in Sports World Continues
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel questions a referee in an NBA basketball game with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021, in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves won 110-92.   (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

The NBA on Sunday postponed a total of five games involving nine teams in response to rising coronavirus numbers, raising the number of contests that have been pushed back this season to seven, the AP reports. Called off were three Sunday games: Cleveland at Atlanta, Denver at Brooklyn and New Orleans at Philadelphia. Also shelved were Orlando's game at Toronto on Monday and Washington's game at Brooklyn on Tuesday. The postponements came on the same day that Atlanta announced star guard Trae Young entered the league's health and safety protocols and the Los Angeles Lakers said coach Frank Vogel also was added to the list.

Leaguewide, through Sunday evening, there were at least 75 players from 20 teams who have either been ruled out to play—or in the case of the postponed games, would have been ruled out—because they are in the protocols; a number of assistant coaches and referees are in the protocols as well. That number has soared in recent days, with the NBA just one of many sports leagues worldwide dealing with a rapidly worsening issue. “This isn’t going to go away today, tomorrow or the next day," Dallas coach Jason Kidd said Sunday. “This is going to be here for a while."

It's not clear how many of the NBA cases involve asymptomatic players. The NFL has revised its protocols so that only unvaccinated players and those experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19 will be tested. Numerous college games at all levels have also been canceled in recent days. And the NHL and its players association temporarily clamped down on teams crossing the Canadian border and shut down operations of two more teams on Sunday for a total of seven in hopes of salvaging the season as COVID-19 outbreaks spread across the league, the AP reports. (The NFL is having issues too.)

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