NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says there are currently no plans to pause the season amid COVID-19 spike

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN’s Malika Andrews that the league has no plans to pause the season as COVID-19 spikes during the tournament.

“There are no plans to pause the season right now,” Silver said in an interview on NBA Today on Tuesday afternoon. “Of course we’ve looked at all options, but to be honest we’re having a hard time figuring out the logic behind the pause right now.

“When we look at these cases that are literally tearing the country apart, let alone the rest of the world, I think we’re finding ourselves where we know we’re going. over the past few months, and it’s this virus that’s not going to be wiped out, and we’re going to have to learn to live with it. I think that’s what we’re going through in the league right now.”

The NBA has had to postpone seven games in the past week – including five in the past three days – as the omicron variant of COVID-19 has swept through the league, just as it has happened across societies around the world.

Silver says the omicron strain is “beyond dominance” in the league at the moment, something the NBA can keep an eye on because it has the ability to chain up every positive test it gets from players, coaches and staff around the league.

“Probably about 90% of the positive cases we’re seeing right now are omicrons,” Silver said.

Silver’s stance on not stopping play is consistent with a memo the federation sent teams on Sunday night announcing the new rules for substitutes. Teams now have much more flexibility to add them immediately upon player loss according to tournament health and safety protocols – and, when they have at least two players within the protocols, they must Start contracting with them.

But one thing he says the federation is not yet prepared to do is publicly change its stance on how long players should be sidelined after positive test results. Currently, NBA health and safety protocols say that a positive test requires sitting out 10 days or taking two negative PCR tests more than 24 hours apart.

Silver, however, told Andrews that the league had looked through the data it had gathered that the players given the boosters were either asymptomatic or very mild and were spreading the virus through their systems rapidly. more – this could, at some point in the future, pave the way for tournaments to shorten the amount of time players have to miss.

“We always measure the viral load with a PCR test,” says Silver. “So again, that’s something that not only our doctors, but the medical community as a whole, are looking at. I think they’ve realized that you can walk away from the 10-day procedure when you have these things. Players are vaccinated and boosted.

“It seems that viruses run through their systems faster. Not only do they become asymptomatic, but more importantly, they don’t spread the virus anymore. That’s the real concern of others. And so we’re actively looking at shortening the number of days players take off before they can return to the ring.”

And while Silver said the NBA isn’t ready to change its stance on testing when it comes to players who aren’t showing symptoms – such as the NFL did over the weekend – he did say that league data The game clearly shows that boosters work, and he hopes that the current percentage of both vaccinated and health-boosted players, 65%, will continue to grow.

“We have a lot of data that we are looking at. About the players and coaches who went through a three-shot protocol, meaning two mRNA shots and then boosters, and then two shots. Last week, only a very small number of them, Silver said, “And they basically have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. We’re also dealing with a large group that has a single J&J shot or hasn’t been boosted.

“I just wanted to say to our community, really to everyone, at least based on the data the NBA has, that enhancers are highly effective and we highly encourage people to use them. Actually, in our league right now, we’re about 97% vaccinated, but we’ve got about 65% of our players buffed and we’re talking. Actively with the player association to get that number even higher So we don’t, in terms of your question, in essence whether we can consider this to be endemic, and every the starters go on and we’re just checking for the symptomatic diseases and addressing those, we’re not quite there yet, but we’re paying a lot of attention to what the other leagues are doing. “

But while Silver was quick to point out the effectiveness of both the vaccine and the booster shot, one thing he said has yet to be discussed is another push to get a coalition-wide vaccine mandate.

While San Francisco and New York have required players who play for teams in those markets to be vaccinated – a decision that is holding brooklyn network star Kyrie Irving hasn’t played any home games this season – no other city has followed suit and the NBA hasn’t reverted to its mandate proposal for the National Basketball Players Association from pre-season begin.

“No,” Silver said, when asked if he would bring it back again. “That’s what we propose. It’s something the players’ union would not agree with. Having said that, we have about 97 percent of our players vaccinated. So from the point of view of the players. For me, I want to focus on 97% versus 3%. And incidentally, many of the 3% have now received COVID, so they’ve developed antibodies.

“For me, the focus is on boosters for the 97% of players who are vaccinated. As I said before, among the players who are eligible for boosters because, as you know, there is a period of time. wait time after your second injection, but of those who qualify for a raise, we’re around 65%, and ideally I’d like to see that number go up to 97% as well. what we’re focusing on at the moment with PA.”

The NBPA released a statement on Tuesday night about the effort to provide booster shots to players.

“Today, we are committed to making booster shots available to all eligible players and the NBPA strongly encourages all of our players to receive booster shots as soon as possible. ,” the union said.

In the meantime, however, teams are faced with rushing to sign substitute players, in many cases, just to fill their rosters to be able to play in games. Silver admits it’s not an ideal situation but says that ultimately there aren’t many alternatives to a league that will continue to play the game in the midst of the pandemic still raging across society.

“I think there is a recognition that these are the cards we were dealt,” Silver said. “Of course, there’s some unfairness that comes with playing under certain circumstances against certain teams where specific players are absent because of the COVID protocol, but the other advantage is that we have a good season. 82 games and we have a long knockout, and my feeling is that things will work out at the end of the season.” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says there are currently no plans to pause the season amid COVID-19 spike

John Verrall

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