The Charlotte Hornets and NBA could have a severe COVID-19 problem.
ESPN reports four Charlotte Hornets players, including LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier, have entered the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Sources revealed to Adrian Wojnarowski that the Hornets also sent players and staff home from their practice facility because of the concern of more positive COVID-19 tests. The ESPN NBA insider revealed the two other players joining Ball and Rozier in health and safety protocols are Mason Plumlee and Jalen McDaniels.
After Charlotte’s LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier entered into health and safety protocols, there’s concern of more possible positive Covid tests on the Hornets, sources tell ESPN. Team sent players and staff home from practice facility.
If no other Hornets players test positive for the virus, they will meet the minimum eight players needed to play in their upcoming matchup with the Hawks in Atlanta on Sunday (Dec.5). The team will depart for Atlanta on Saturday, barring any more positive tests that would postpone the game.
Per the NBA’s rules, any player that tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate away from the team without any physical interaction for a minimum of 10 days. Once the days pass, the players must undergo cardiac screening and reconditioning to be cleared to return to NBA action. A player can also clear protocols by producing two negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests within 24 hours. Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is a perfect example of that. He just recently had a COVID-19 scare after he had two false-positive tests and was entered into health and safety protocols but was ultimately cleared after returning multiple negative PCR tests in a 24-hour window.
The NBA states it has about a 97% vaccination rate among its players, but how many players have received highly recommended booster shots is unclear. On Friday (Dec.3), the league informed teams that individuals who had not received booster shots by Dec.17 would be subject to stricter rules. For players, that means gameday testing, and for staffers, their access to players would be restricted by the league, and they will no longer be allowed to travel or be on or around the court. This announcement comes on the heels of the new Omicron variant beginning to spread around the globe.
The NBA has had 20 players enter health and safety protocols this season. In most cases, players return following the 10 days, except for Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid who was out for three weeks battling the virus. Speaking with reporters after his first game back since clearing protocols, Embiid revealed his battle with the virus was a challenge.
“I mean, I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. It was that bad,” Embiid said. “So I’m just thankful to be sitting here. I’m just glad I got over it.”
Things are starting to look spooky again. As the season progresses, don’t be shocked if more players test positive for COVID-19.
Photo: Jacob Kupferman / Getty
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