It is the NBA’s biggest fear right now: COVID puts name players on the shelf during the playoffs and alters a series. Already the Pacers had to go into their play-in game against the Hornets without Caris LeVert, who had to sit due to health and safety protocols (not that it mattered).
The NBA and NBPA announced that only one player tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week.
That follows the trend of the past few weeks in the league, with just one or two positive tests (except for the one week there was four, but that appears to be an anomaly). In this way, the NBA tracks with the rest of the United States, where the rates of new infections are down but not eliminated.
Adam Silver has said more than 70% of NBA players and team staff have been vaccinated, and the league is hoping that number climbs over time.
With the end of the regular season, the number of players tested daily will go down, which will likely drop infection rates around the league.
Still, one key player being infected could turn a playoff series. The NBA hopes it doesn’t come to that.