While the 2021-22 NBA season has gone according to plan so far, there have already been several cases of players being placed in health and safety protocols due to positive coronavirus (COVID-19) tests.
The most controversial case was Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who was placed in the protocols after producing a positive test, but was later cleared to play after testing negative twice. James expressed his frustrations with being placed in protocols immediately after the positive result despite turning in a negative test prior, and went into detail about the process before ultimately returning.
With more COVID-19 cases occurring around the league and threats of a new variant popping up in the United States, it sounds like the league will soon be instituting stricter guidelines for players and staff who do not receive the booster, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Sources: Beginning Dec. 17, NBA players who have not received booster COVID-19 dose will be subject to game day testing. Also on Dec. 17, team personnel who have yet to receive booster are no longer permitted to interact with players, travel with team or continue as Tier 1.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 4, 2021
The Lakers as a team all reportedly have full vaccination status, and head coach Frank Vogel believes the organization would encourage members to receive the booster if the proposed guidelines ever get implemented.
“I don’t know anything about that,” Vogel said. “I’ve heard that at some point that may come into play, but I don’t know where the league is with that. But yes, we would encourage them again if that were to come out.”
The winter season coupled with people gathering indoors during the holidays increases the risk of transmission and the NBA is doing its due diligence in ensuring fewer cases from occurring. Data on the coronavirus booster has been encouraging so far as individuals who receive it are less likely to contract the virus, which means it would be in teams’ best interests to encourage those to get it.
Frank Vogel, Anthony Davis empathize with LeBron James’ frustrations
James has had a rough 2021-22 season given how much time he has already had to miss, though nothing must have been as frustrating as having to be placed in protocols when you are confident you are fine. It is a difficult spot to be in, so Anthony Davis and Vogel empathized with James’ situation as he worked to get cleared as soon as possible.
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