NBA notebook: Covid absences lead to the return of familiar faces

This is our last news before Christmas Day, and sadly, it’s one of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks across the NBA. Let’s dive in!


With a third of the NBA entering health and safety protocols in December and a growing number of games forced to postpone due to lack of healthy bodies, there was speculation the NBA could decide to temporarily suspend the season until current epidemics. are under control. NBA commissioner Adam Silver, in an interview with Malika Andrews for ESPN, refuted those speculations on Tuesday, reiterating that the league is moving forward and has no plans to suspend the season.

The NBA has demanded that teams sign replacement players as soon as two or more of their players enter health and safety protocols, and the NBA has made the mechanisms to do so easier and less punitive for luxury teams. who pay taxes.

The conversation has now turned to what the future means to “live with the virus”. Some have proposed allowing asymptomatic players to play normally, but that would be a big departure from existing public health guidelines. Even if no player ends up in the intensive care unit, long symptoms of COVID, even in vaccinated players, could have drastic and life-changing consequences down the line. Pursuing short-sighted goals at the expense of the long-term health of players would not only be morally questionable, it would be bad business in a league where money talks.


Perhaps the only bright side of so many players forced to run out of time in health and safety protocols is that it opens up an unprecedented number of opportunities up and down the NBA rosters, as teams are scrambling to find healthy bodies capable of contributing immediately. From Isaiah Thomas getting another hit with the Lakers, or Joe Johnson, 40, taking a break from BIG3 to become a full “Iso-Joe” for the Boston Celtics, it was fun to see so many familiar faces again.

And even better than that, many G League players have been called up and given serious opportunities to play on the bigger stage. While the nature of these calls means that the roles of these replacement players are inherently fleeting, it’s always nice for all of them to soak up the sun.


Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis will be reassessed in four weeks after suffering an MCL sprain in action against the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this week. After failing to exit the tunnel on his own and hearing a pop, he is lucky to avoid surgery. But the one-month schedule for his return seems overly optimistic.

A Grade 2 MCL sprain takes between two and four weeks to heal, but by announcing ahead of time that Davis won’t be re-evaluated for another four weeks, the Lakers tacitly admit it could be more serious than they had initially indicated.

And a Grade 3 MCL sprain can take up to two months to heal, not to mention the time it takes to speed up conditioning to return to action. In the first case, it is a dangerous blow to the Lakers’ playoff chances, in the second it could prove fatal.


The New York Knicks took another blow to their already weak playoff hopes this week, as veteran point guard Derrick Rose underwent surgery to deal with a lingering ankle problem he is facing since joining the team last season.

The Chicago native is arguably the Knicks’ best player since the playoffs started last year, and his absence, along with numerous COVID-19 absences, saw formerly out of rotation Kemba Walker back in initial training.

The Knicks are sitting at 14-17, with a tougher schedule ahead of them than behind them. It’s high time to start bet against them making the playoffs.


With the most common health and safety protocols and injuries, the NBA’s Christmas Day slate is in danger of being a big dud. Some of the NBA stars who shouldn’t be playing this Christmas now include Kevin Durant, Trae Young, Luka Doncic and Anthony Davis, and there is still no guarantee that Giannis will make a comeback in time. And at the pace at which the omicron variant is evolving, a few other big names will also be on this list before Saturday.

While the NBA would have contingency plans in the event a team is forced to postpone a game on Christmas Day, it’s more than likely what will happen is that instead of postponing, the NBA will release a product from substandard quality – a disgrace to all the fans watching, and a disaster for the NBA, which makes huge amounts of money from its Christmas Day program.