Memphis Grizzlies centre Steven Adams is set to miss some time on the court after being entered into the NBA's Covid-19 health and safety protocols.
Set up to limit the spread of Covid-19 around the league, the protocols require any player, coach or staff member of a team to isolate if they have been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.
The majority of those who enter the protocols miss at least a week, while any play who tests positive for Covid-19 has to go through a reconditioning programme before they are cleared to return. It has not been reported whether Adams has tested positive.
Star players missing games has become a familiar theme in the NBA – ESPN's Baxter Holmes reports more than 300 players have entered the NBA's health and safety protocols this season – 252 in December. More than 50 players are currently in the protocols.
Teams who have been particularly impacted have been allowed to sign players on short-term hardship deals, which has seen a record number of players take to the NBA court this season. Already, more than 540 players have featured in at least one NBA game this season – surpassing the previous record for most players to feature in a single campaign, set last season.
Adams' loss will be significant for the surging Grizzlies, who have been one of the surprise packages of the season. The 28-year-old is the only player to have featured in all 40 games of the Grizzlies' season.
Nearing the midway point in the campaign, the Grizzlies sit fourth in with Western Conference with a 26-14 record – having won seven games in a row leading into their clash with the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday morning.
Adams, in his first season with the franchise, has settled in nicely with the Grizzlies' potent offence. Not being required to put up many shots, Adams is instead making his mark on the glass and in facilitating teammates.
Adams is averaging a career-high three assists per game, while he is averaging more rebounds than he did in each of the last two seasons (one with the Oklahoma City Thunder, one with the New Orleans Pelicans).
- by Christopher Reive, NZ Herald