BOSTON – Expressing concern about the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the NBA and the country, the Warriors on Friday felt their first impact of the pandemic this season: Guard Jordan Poole entered health and safety protocol and will miss the Warriors game Friday night to Boston.
The Warriors are fully vaccinated and tested at the team’s hotel Thursday morning in New York in preparation for Saturday’s game in Toronto. Coach Steve Kerr said Thursday that the entire “eligible” team received their booster shots.
Both teams canceled gunfights scheduled for Friday morning. Over the past two days, the Celtics have added three players to the OH&S protocol: Jabari Parker, Al Horford and Grant Williams will also miss Friday’s game.
Poole is the first Warriors player to enter the NBA health and safety record this season, although incidents in the league are on the rise and have surpassed 50 as of Thursday evening. At least 20 players across the league were ineligible to participate in Friday’s games. because they have either been infected or tested positive for the virus. If any player tests positive for COVID-19, they must immediately isolate them until 10 days have elapsed since that test or the onset of symptoms, or until they are negative on two PCR tests at intervals of 24 hours.
Poole, 22, was a star in his third season with the Warriors. The guard is averaging 17.9 points and 3.4 assists for the Warriors, who are 23-5 ahead of Friday night’s match against the Celtics. He was expected to take on a big role on Saturday against the Raptors in a back-to-back second leg, with the Warriors considering resting veterans such as Steph Curry and Draymond Green.
Poole instituted health and safety protocol in an injury report released at 10:30 am ET, about 24 hours after the team was tested at their hotel Thursday in Manhattan. In the 11:30 update, there were no additional players in the report.
The warriors were already on high alert due to incidents reported in the league. Kerr said: “We ask everyone to wear masks as often as possible, to be as smart and as safe as possible, because it’s really scary.”
Kerr added that even passing the test “… is a reminder of what’s going on. While we knew this was still going on, it is obvious that the first couple of months of the season we felt quite normal. Full crowds, very few tests, if any, because everyone is vaccinated. It looks like this is about to change. ”
The Raptors were the first NBA team to be forced to cap their games after the first round of the pandemic’s caps. Beginning Saturday, Ontario has limited the capacity of all major establishments to 50%.
Friday also marked the date that the NBA began requiring in-game day testing for any player who has yet to receive their booster vaccine, which the league’s latest numbers say includes up to 150 players. Team members must also receive an extra shot to communicate in person with players, coaches and referees or travel along the road.
Come back to learn more about this evolving story.