The list of positive players and postponed fixtures is starting to grow in earnest within the North American Championship, which could end up jeopardizing the season.
The NBA game between Portland and Memphis, scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed due to numerous contact cases of Covid-19 among players, said the North American Basketball League on Wednesday, which also announced the postponement for the same reasons. of Friday’s game between Washington and Milwaukee. The announcement of the postponement of these 16th and 17th NBA games this season, due to the pandemic, comes the day the body announced that 11 new players had tested positive out of the 502 screened since January 13. According to NBA protocol, any player who is positive for the coronavirus or who has been in close contact with a positive person must self-isolate and respect a quarantine. It is for this reason that the Memphis Grizzlies have not been able to field the eight players minimum required to play their meeting.
Another match scheduled for Wednesday, between Charlotte and Washington, was postponed as of Monday because the Wizards also did not have enough players available. With Friday’s scheduled against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Wizards are now six games in a row postponed since the start of the season on December 22. Of the 17 matches postponed due to the health protocol, 16 have been since January 10, demonstrating an acceleration in the spread of the pandemic within the NBA. A list of players positive for Covid-19 which is growing, leading their teammates in contact cases in quarantines which decimates the workforce, also affected by an accumulation of injuries: a month after its start, the NBA season has a lead in the wing .
A season that must go to the end
After having started barely 71 days after the coronation of the Lakers at the expense of the Heat, in the hermetic bubble of Disney World where the last championship ended without a hitch, this season must go to its end, had assured the League mid -January. The basketball governing body then explained that resuming just before Christmas not only promised big television audiences but also being able to plan 72 matches (instead of 82) and play-offs before the Tokyo Olympics (23 July-August 8). The boss, Adam Silver, had claimed that “tens of thousands” of jobs depended on it.
But the other side of the coin is health. By deciding to play the matches at home and away, despite a critical situation caused by the increasingly galloping pandemic in the United States, the NBA has taken the risk that a succession of positive cases will occur. On the one hand, the hasty resumption of play has come at the expense of the health of players whose rest and preparation have been shortened. And on the other hand, in a decimated squad, the risk of injury increases for those who suddenly play longer than usual. And there is also for those returning from an inactive period resulting from quarantine.