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Trail Blazers-Grizzlies, Wizards-Bucks postponed for COVID-19 contact tracing

Jason Owens
·2 min read
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Wednesday’s game between the Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies has been postponed because of COVID-19 contact tracing among the Grizzlies.

The league announced the news Wednesday afternoon, noting that the Grizzlies fall short of the league-mandated eight available players to field a team.

The teams are scheduled to play again on Friday, meaning that game is in jeopardy of being postponed as well. No further details of Wednesday’s postponement were reported.

The NBA announced later Wednesday that Friday’s game between the Washington Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks will also be postponed. The Wizards, who haven’t played since Jan. 11 and will miss their sixth straight game, still don’t have enough players to field a team because of contact tracing.

17 postponements since start of new season

Wednesday’s announcements marked 16th and 17th games of the season postponed due to coronavirus health and safety protocols. The NBA started the season in late December after completing last season in the confines of the Disney World bubble that successfully protected players and staff from exposure to the coronavirus.

The league also announced Wednesday that 11 players out of 502 tested positive for COVID-19 in the latest round of testing taking place since Jan. 13.

With teams now traveling as normal to opposing cities and arenas, COVID-19 has made a significant impact on the first month of the new NBA season.

Feb 12, 2020; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) handles the ball against Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (middle) during the second half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Wednesday's showdown between Ja Morant and Damian Lillard will have to wait. (Justin Ford/Reuters)

NBA reportedly installing on-court security to enforce social distancing

The league has repeatedly updated its coronavirus protocols in the face of the ongoing exposures. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported earlier Wednesday that the league will station security officers at halfcourt during games to enforce social distancing guidelines between players that prohibit hugs and handshakes and require the wearing of masks pre- and post-game.

The league’s struggles to operate amid the pandemic arrive as COVID-19 maintains its grip across the nation. On Tuesday, the COVID-19 death toll in the United States surpassed 400,000 as the country remains the world’s hardest hit by the coronavirus in terms of deaths and total documented cases.

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