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D'Angelo Russell Thinks The NBA Should Adopt The NFL's COVID-19 Policies

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D'Angelo Russell

The NBA has been hit with some COVID-19 outbreaks in recent memory, with many players currently being sidelined under health and safety protocols. There is no doubt that this has caused trouble for some teams.

Timberwolves star D'Angelo Russell has recently expressed his opinion on the NBA's health and safety protocols and stated that they should adopt the NFL's policies regarding the virus.

An article by Dan Graziano of ESPN states the new NFL rules regarding COVID-19 "make it easier for players who are vaccinated and asymptomatic to return to practice and games". The NFL's changes notably focus on "whether a player is still contagious" to determine whether they can play.

Also effective immediately, the league and the NFLPA will institute changes in the return-to-play COVID-19 protocols that will make it easier for players who are vaccinated and asymptomatic to return to practice and games.

Under the previous protocols, a vaccinated individual who tests positive for COVID-19 has to produce two negative tests 24 hours apart before being cleared to return. The new protocols relax that requirement and could enable teams such as the Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams and Washington Football Team to get some players back for this weekend's games.

In creating the new return-to-play protocols, the NFL and NFLPA focused on a new metric that measures the viral load of a player, known as the "cycle threshold" (CT). In essence, the CT value can measure whether a player is still contagious, even if in some cases he would still test positive on a traditional test.

That testing can begin as soon as one day after the initial positive and could significantly shorten the amount of time a vaccinated player spends away from the team facility.

There are now three ways for a vaccinated player to return under the new protocols:

• Two PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests that are either negative or produce a CT value of 35 or greater.

• One PCR test that is either negative or produces a CT value of 35 or greater, and a negative Mesa test result taken with 24 hours of the PCR test. (Mesa tests usually return results in less than an hour.)

• Two negative Mesa tests.

There is no doubt that the NBA's priority has been to try and keep its players safe, and they heavily encouraged vaccination among their players. The majority of the league has already gotten vaccinated for the virus.

We'll see if the NBA adopts some similar policies to the NFL regarding the COVID-19 virus. Obviously, it makes sense that a lot of players would want to return to play if they're asymptomatic. Perhaps we'll receive an update on this matter from the league in the future.