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NBA reduces COVID return time for players

BASKETBALL By Agencies | January 2nd 2022 | 2 min read

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton is among the high-profile players currently sidelined in the NBA's health and safety protocol. [USA TODAY Sports]

Some NBA players could face a shorter waiting period to return to action following a positive COVID-19 test.

ESPN reported on Friday that the league and the National Basketball Players Association have agreed on a new health and safety protocol for vaccinated and asymptomatic players who have tested positive.

League spokespeople did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for confirmation.  

Previously, such players could be cleared after seven days if tests showed their cycle threshold (CT) levels were above 35. The new protocol reduces that span to five days with a CT level above 30, per the report.

The CT levels help to determine how infectious someone might be.

The timetable reduction comes as the omicron variant continues to ravage NBA rosters. As of Friday, a total of 260 players had entered the COVID-19 protocol this season -- 247 in December alone, per ESPN.

League commissioner Adam Silver previously told ESPN that the Omicron variant has been found in as much as 90 percent of recent cases among players. 

Phoenix center Deandre Ayton and Dallas guard Luka Doncic are among the high-profile players currently sidelined in the NBA’s health and safety protocol. 

Friday’s report follows new CDC guidance, which recommends cutting quarantine times from 10 days to five for infected individuals. Similarly, the NBA cut its isolation period for vaccinated players from 10 days to six earlier this week.  

Players, coaches, and officials can still test out of the league COVID-19 protocols by passing a pair of screenings 24 hours apart. 

The rule change will allow teams to replenish their depleted rosters. 

The NBA has increased testing during the holidays, which will lead to more positive results, but the reduced quarantine time should help vaccinated players return to action more quickly.

Around 97 percent of NBA players are vaccinated, according to Silver. Notable holdouts include Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who has yet to suit up this season due to local health restrictions and team policy, but is expected to begin playing road games soon after the club reversed a previous ban on the All-Star. 

All NBA coaches and officials were required to be vaccinated.   

League sources have told ESPN that NBA data shows boosted individuals have been clearing the virus out of their systems at a faster pace.

Covid 19 Time Series


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