Four Charlotte Hornets players were placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Saturday amid indications they had tested positive for Covid-19.
Last year’s NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball, along with guard Terry Rozier, center Mason Plumlee and forward Jalen McDaniels, could be absent from team activities for the next 10 days.
However, should the four players return two negative tests in a 24-hour period, then they would be permitted to return to the lineup.
Charlotte’s next scheduled game is at Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night and, barring additional positive coronavirus tests, they would meet the NBA’s minimum player numbers (8) for the game to go ahead.
The 13-11 Hornets are currently seventh in the NBA Eastern Conference standings. Their last game was on Wednesday night at the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Hornets’ news comes as the league and the National Basketball Players Association has been pushing for players, coaches and staff to get booster shots.
The NBA has said that about 97 per cent of its players are vaccinated, but it is not clear how many have since received booster shots.
Those teams who do no receive booster shots by December 17 are set to be subject to stricter rules imposed by the league.
This includes gameday testing for players, and staffers could not interact with players, be around the court or travel with the team.
About 30 games last season were postponed, mostly for virus-related reasons, but none were ultimately cancelled completely. The NBA has not yet had to postpone a game due to Covid-19 this season.