ESPN: More than one-third of NBA referees are in COVID-19 protocols, sources say

ESPN: More than one-third of NBA referees are in COVID-19 protocols, sources say. “As the omicron variant rips through NBA players and coaches, it has reached a season-high among game officials: 36% of the league’s referees are in COVID-19 protocols, sources told ESPN on Thursday. With 25 of the league’s 70 active referees currently in quarantine, the league has been promoting G League referees to fill out the nightly roster of games, sources said.”

ESPN: NBA discussing plan to require teams short-handed by COVID to sign additional replacement players, sources say

ESPN: NBA discussing plan to require teams short-handed by COVID to sign additional replacement players, sources say. “In the wake of dozens of players being sidelined in the league’s health and safety protocols, and with looming concerns leaguewide about more games being halted, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association are discussing a plan that would require teams decimated by COVID to sign additional replacement players, league sources tell ESPN.”

Chicago Bulls: Covid-19 outbreak sees NBA postpone games while NHL also affected (BBC)

BBC: Chicago Bulls: Covid-19 outbreak sees NBA postpone games while NHL also affected. “Two Chicago Bulls fixtures have been postponed over a Covid-19 outbreak, the first games called off in the NBA because of the virus this season. Games against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday and the Toronto Raptors on Thursday are off, the NBA said. The NBA postponed 31 games because of Covid-19 last season.”

Celtics Launch New Team Site: BostonCelticsHistory.com (Boston Celtics)

Boston Celtics: Celtics Launch New Team Site: BostonCelticsHistory.com. “BostonCelticsHistory.com contains hundreds of unique items sure to entice any basketball fan, including rare glimpses of game-used gear, hundreds of images and photos, official team publications and promotional items, vintage video highlights and one-of-a-kind mementos from Celtics legends. Fans can explore galleries dedicated to all-time greats, sneakers, mascots and more.”

Revealed: The Secret Covid Outbreak That Shot Fear Through the NBA Finals (Rolling Stone)

Rolling Stone: Revealed: The Secret Covid Outbreak That Shot Fear Through the NBA Finals. “Indeed, the untold story of the 2021 NBA Finals, according to 17 sources speaking to Rolling Stone about the internal crisis for the first time, is that of a near-superspreader event chasing down the biggest superstar in the game on its biggest stage. Despite outward appearances that the Bucks were ‘all good’ and that the Suns had sealed off a Delta breakthrough case that forced its vaccinated superstar Chris Paul to miss two games during the Western Conference Finals in June, the fear in Phoenix hit both teams.”

CNN: Kyrie Irving ‘will not play or practice’ with the Brooklyn Nets due to vaccination status

CNN: Kyrie Irving ‘will not play or practice’ with the Brooklyn Nets due to vaccination status. “Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks has confirmed Kyrie Irving ‘will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant,’ as issues relating to the star guard’s vaccination status continue. On Friday, a New York City Hall official told CNN that Irving will be allowed to practice at the team’s facility but will not be eligible to play in the Nets’ home games at Barclays Center due to the city’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate.”

NBC News: NBA draws line as stars like Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins balk at Covid vaccine

NBC News: NBA draws line as stars like Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins balk at Covid vaccine. “Irving, 29, is part of a group of current NBA players — which includes Golden State Warriors star Andrew Wiggins, the Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal and the Orlando Magic’s Jonathan Isaac — who have chosen not to get vaccinated as the NBA 2021-22 season is about to unfold during the ongoing pandemic.”

Sports Illustrated: Karl-Anthony Towns Opens Up About His Season of Grief

Sports Illustrated: Karl-Anthony Towns Opens Up About His Season of Grief. “On Jan. 15, Karl-Anthony Towns tested positive for COVID-19. Just nine months after the 25-year-old watched his mother, Jacqueline Towns, die of the same disease that also killed his uncle and five other members of his family, this was a nightmare scenario. Towns received treatment at an area hospital, then quarantined at home for the next few weeks, isolated from friends and family. Basketball had been the closest thing in his life to an outlet. Now, by himself, he had no choice but to confront the pain that followed his mother’s sudden death.

Taking their shot: NBA referees to be vaccinated this season (Yahoo Sports)

Yahoo Sports: Taking their shot: NBA referees to be vaccinated this season. “NBA referees will all be vaccinated against the coronavirus this season. The NBA announced Saturday that it has struck a deal with the National Basketball Referees Association on that requirement. Part of the referees’ agreement with the NBA also says that those working games will receive booster shots once they become recommended.”

Hickory Daily Record: Heat to use COVID-19-sniffing dogs to screen fans at games

Hickory Daily Record: Heat to use COVID-19-sniffing dogs to screen fans at games. “The Miami Heat are bringing back some fans, with help from some dogs. The Heat will use coronavirus-sniffing dogs at AmericanAirlines Arena to screen fans who want to attend their games. They’ve been working on the plan for months, and the highly trained dogs have been in place for some games this season where the team has allowed a handful of guests — mostly friends and family of players and staff.”