The explosion of the Suns’ COVID-19 in the playoffs raises questions about NBA protocols

BOSTON – The Phoenix Suns were overseeing the COVID-19 epidemic when their weather fell, several sources told The Athleticwith six people – including one player – tested for hope late at the end of the Western Conference or the next day Game 7.

With their season on the line, Sun was shattered at home by Dallas Mavericks 123-90 on May 15. One of Phoenix’s assistant coaches, Bryan Gates, was found to have a problem after Game 6 and missed the final game, while some of the others. The sun showed to his teammates that he was not feeling well before Game 7.

The player tested the next day for Game 7. The Athletic does not specify persons who have COVID-19 unless their names have been identified by the team, league or individuals. Some of those who were diagnosed with the virus were helpful.

Due to the spread, the Suns were unable to hold final exit meetings between the players and coaches at the stadium and instead held an all-team meeting via Zoom. Much of this story has been confirmed by more than half a dozen sources.

The issue raised questions within it as to whether they were complying with the rules of the testing league. The NBA requires all team members, regardless of vaccine, to be tested for the virus if they have symptoms, and may not play, train or sit in teams if they are diagnosed with the virus.

The Sun, who secretly insists there is no breach of protocol, declined to comment publicly on the matter.

“I think it is clear that nobody was trying to explain away the facts,” said one Sun expert who was not allowed to comment publicly on them. “And this is where the difficulty lies.”

A league spokesman said The Athletic“The NBA has not seen any evidence of any violation of any rules that Suns players or employees have violated.” A league source added that the NBA could re-evaluate the situation if new information is released.

The Mavericks were also affected by the outcry, with another Dallas source indicating that rumors of a Suns Game explosion had already begun 5 times.

“(COVID-19) was on everyone’s mind,” said a source close to the matter.

In that sense, the Sun is not alone.

From the time of the NBA’s Orlando bubble in 2020 until this postseason, much has changed in the way the league handles the virus. Gone are the days when players and coaches were tested several times a day, with the goal of the entire league preventing the release of COVID-19.

The league has evolved into a shortcut, and teams are expected to test an employee, coach or player unless they have the symptoms. Basically, it is a decent system.

Since the 2022 postseason, there have been major cases of players and coaches missing games due to COVID-19. The LA Clippers star, Paul George, came out of a game that the team should win in the Play-In against New Orleans after a pre-match test match when they met for a fitness session. “She was devastated,” says one source from George. Bulls champion Zach LaVine missed Game 5 in the first round in Chicago after the team announced they had tested positive for the virus.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr missed two games in the Western semifinals after a test, and Celtics midfielder Al Horford came out on top in Game 1 with a final test. Now they are all competing in the NBA Finals. The virus also devastated ABC sports announcer Mike Breen in a number of games, and analyst Jeff Van Gundy came out on top in Game 1 final.

“I felt like I had a cold, sore throat, cough, constipation,” Kerr said. “I thought I could teach, but I obviously did not want to hurt anyone. So as soon as I tested it out, it seemed like it was fine, you came out. ”

Team members may be tempted to contact a person with COVID-19 if they have not received their full vaccine. Talent at ABC / ESPN that is very close to the players (in court or one-on-one interviews) at the end of the season should try to get the chance, regardless of the vaccine.

The fastest way to get back from COVID-19 is to do two useless tests 24 hours apart – that’s how Horford returned to the Celtics in Game 2 final conference.

Dr. Robby Sikka, vice president of the former basketball team at Minnesota Timberwolves who negotiated with the NBA on the medical and protocols of COVID-19, said the rules that the league was set should remain.

Sikka, a Denver Broncos physician for the NFL and co-founder of the COVID-19 Sports and Society Workgroup, said the combination of vaccines with antibiotics such as Paxlovid helps players recover faster from the virus, preventing the onset of symptoms and allowing them to be vaccinated sooner. But he is worried about the start of the next NBA season, when the motivating shot is down.

“We are talking about diseases that not only affect life and death, but also diseases that can spread rapidly among the people,” Sikka said. “Maybe we should start thinking, will people get encouragement next season? Will we have more support, or will we use Paxlovid more effectively? These are the questions we need to ask.

The good news is that I can say this, because I know that when you talk to people who are very close to all the last teams, you have teams that are taking this, ”said Sikka. “They are trying to prevent the spread of their organizations because they want them to be able to play in the final.”

Saturday is the 25th anniversary of Michael Jordan’s “flu game”, when he scored 38 points in the Bulls’ victory in the NBA Finals at Utah playing with what at the time was believed to be the flu (which is highly contagious) but was food. toxins from a bad pizza.

One day, we will have a “COVID-19 game,” whether the league changes its rules or not.

“This is a very interesting question,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last week. “I do not know if it is the same or not, (but) there are other viruses, where the flu, for example, history, has been information from a player and a team or a player doctor to determine if it is appropriate for them. Out below. In the end, I think that’s a bigger issue than the NBA.I don’t think we’re looking to be a trendsetter there.

“I think we want to remember what a player with the virus can’t have other players on the ground but people on the field.”

(Photo: Kate Frese / NBAE via Getty Images)


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