NBA Says It Will ‘Follow the Science’ as Coronavirus Cases Rise

For the first couple of months of the N.B.A. season, the league operated with something that approximated business as usual: full arenas and full rosters as teams adapted to the new normal of playing through the coronavirus pandemic.

But amid a recent surge of players and coaches who have landed in the N.B.A.’s Covid-19 health and safety protocols, the league finds itself contending with some familiar challenges and concerns.

Positive tests. Canceled practices. And the looming possibility of more postponed games, just as the N.B.A. approaches what some fans consider its real opening day: a five-game slate on Christmas Day.

On Tuesday, the Nets announced that six more players, including James Harden, had joined Paul Millsap in the protocols, meaning they had tested positive for the coronavirus or had been in close contact with someone who had. That left the Nets with a very short rotation for their home game against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night. The Los Angeles Lakers, meanwhile, canceled their practice after Talen Horton-Tucker entered the protocols ahead of the team’s flight to Dallas for a game against the Mavericks on Wednesday.

Once in the protocols, players cannot return to play until they have isolated for 10 days or returned two negative test results at least 24 hours apart.

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