How new NBA Covid-19 protocols could help Golden State Warriors

Updated Covid-19 health and safety protocols could clear several Golden State Warriors players to return to game action sooner than the team anticipated.

According to an ESPN report published Monday, a memo distributed to NBA teams announced that vaccinated players and coaches who are asymptomatic can exit quarantine after six days if Covid-19 testing data shows they’re no longer infectious.

Warriors forward Draymond Green on Sunday became the team’s fifth player to be placed in health and safety protocols, joining guard Jordan Poole (Dec. 17), forward Andrew Wiggins (Dec. 19), guard Damion Lee (Dec. 22) and guard Moses Moody (Dec. 24). Additionally, four members of Steve Kerr’s coaching staff — Mike Brown, Chris DeMarco, Leandro Barbosa and Dejan Milojevic — were unavailable for Saturday’s Christmas Day matchup with the Phoenix Suns after being placed in protocols.

The new NBA and NBA Players Association agreement replaces a protocol requiring league personnel to wait 10 days following a positive Covid-19 test before returning to competition. According to the memo, a positive test occurs on what is considered “Day Zero,” so players would return on the seventh day if they meet the new standard.

Poole was eligible to return to practice with the Warriors on Monday, but the updated guidelines would clear Wiggins to join him as well as long as testing data shows he is no longer infectious. If testing data clears Lee, it’s possible he could return to the Warriors as soon as Wednesday, which is a day before the team begins a two-game road trip in Denver against the Nuggets.

The updated protocols stand to help Green, too, as the veteran leader could be eligible to return as soon as next Monday’s home game against the Miami Heat. Under previous rules, Green would have missed the team’s next five games, but could now miss just three if he’s cleared for action by January 3.

It’s not yet clear whether the NBA will make further adjustments to the protocols distributed to teams on Monday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cut isolation restrictions for Americans who catch the coronavirus from 10 to five days.

The Associated Press published a report following ESPN’s initial news regarding NBA Covid-19 protocols that announced isolation restrictions would be shortened “in keeping with growing evidence that people with the coronavirus are most infectious in the two days before and three days after symptoms develop.”

Members of the Warriors are expected to address the media regarding Monday’s developments at 5:30 p.m. PT on Monday.

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