76ers coach Doc Rivers, about one-third of NBA referees enter COVID-19 protocols

Doc Rivers became the latest coach to land in the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Thursday.

The Philadelphia 76ers coach entered protocols on Thursday morning, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. It’s unclear how long he will be sidelined, though assistant coach Dan Burke will lead the team in his place.

Rivers is now the seventh coach in COVID-19 protocols, joining Nuggets coach Michael Malone on Thursday. Lakers coach Frank Vogel, Suns coach Monty Williams, Bulls coach Billy Donovan, Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups and Thunder coach Mark Daigneault are also out.

"It probably hit him hard in that way," Burke said about Rivers having to miss games, via ESPN. "He's like [Hawks coach] Nate McMillan always was. He's got to touch the guys, he said. He always wanted to be around his guys, and I know Doc wants to be here for the guys.

"He says he feels good. He's not the least bit worried. If there's anybody who just takes things in stride and keeps it real and keeps it relative, it's Doc. That's the lead we've got to follow."

The Nuggets’ game against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday was postponed, too, after the Nuggets didn’t have enough healthy players to compete. That marked the 11th postponed game of the season.

The 76ers are set to take on the Nets on Thursday night in New York before hosting the Rockets on Monday.

36% of NBA referees out in COVID protocols

The NBA’s coronavirus issues aren’t just limited to players and coaches.

About 36% of NBA referees, or 25 of 70, are currently in the league’s health and safety protocols, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

This has caused plenty of issues so far, and prompted the NBA to promote several G League officials to make sure there are enough referees to work games each night. The league, per Wojnarowski, is working to avoid playing games with just two officials, instead of the normal three, as much as possible.

All NBA officials are fully vaccinated and have to receive a booster by Wednesday.

The NBA and the players association agreed to a new policy earlier this week that would allow players to return after just five days instead of 10. The league also required that all teams host a booster event by the end of the year to try and get as many people fully boosted as possible.

About 97% of players are fully vaccinated.

As of Thursday, the United States is averaging more than 301,000 new cases each day, according to The New York Times, which is an all-time record and a 153% increase over the past two weeks. The country recorded more than 488,000 on Wednesday alone, a new all-time high. About 71% of Americans age 12 and up are fully vaccinated.