The NBA has taken a number of steps to protect players and communities from the dangers of COVID-19. Players who test positive are sent to quarantine for a number of days and, if an outbreak is bad enough, the league might even suspend a game.
The problem is, it's hard to stay consistent in circumstances like that and the league is generating some confusion on what, exactly, meets the standard for a game to be suspended.
Speaking to reporters, Hawks star Trae Young questioned expressed his issues with the current status quo.
“I was just confused. We had like four guys fly in last night just to make the roster and play today. We were able to find a way. I don’t know if it’s on the league or on our part to complain and be forceful with what’s going on. Other teams have gotten games postponed and are waiting on guys to get back. We have, really, three guys who play big minutes for our team when you include Skylar Mays we have four guys. It’s kind of crazy.”
The COVID crisis has hit all sports leagues hard and the NBA is no exception. In their efforts to avoid having to suspend the season again, Adam Silver and other executives have really made it a point to consider all options.
According to D'Angelo Russell, they should follow the NFL's lead.
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.
Whatever the NBA decides to do, they need to be consistent and give all teams equal treatment. As players constantly come and go on short, and teams are unaware of what comes next, it just creates a mess for everyone that makes dealing with an outbreak that much more complicated.
Until something changes, Trae Young (and anybody else who finds themselves in the mix of this madness) will just have to make do with how things are.