Erik Spoelstra wants NBA to revisit COVID-19 protocols
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra questioned the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols on Sunday, suggesting players that test positive but are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic should be treated the same as someone with the flu.
“Has everybody gotten their shots and their boosters? Why would they be held out extensively longer than if they have the flu?” said Spoelstra.
Spoelstra was speaking after Heat forward Caleb Martin tested positive for the coronavirus and was placed in COVID-19 protocols. That also meant the rest of the Miami team would have to undergo more extensive testing for the virus.
“If you just go hunting for, and add more testing and try to find things, you probably will,” Spoelstra said.
Spoelstra said the dangers have been minimized from last year because most NBA players have been vaccinated, had their boosters, and undergone testing. He is concerned they could lose more players to protocols as the Heat prepare to embark on a four-game road trip.
On Saturday, the Heat won 118-92 over the short-handed Chicago Bulls, who were missing seven players because of Covid-19 protocols.
On Sunday, ESPN reported two more Bulls players had entered the health and safety protocols, leaving the team with nine available players — one above the NBA minimum — heading into a game against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.
“I think we all have to figure this out right now,” Spoelstra said. “Are players missing games because they’re symptomatic? Or are they asymptomatic?”
The coronavirus has infected almost 50 million Americans and killed over 797,000 as the country braces for a potential surge in infections due to colder weather and the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the virus.
In Florida, where the Heat play, the death toll has reached 62,000.