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Wizards’ game vs. Jazz on Wednesday postponed as NBA deals with COVID-19 problems

The NBA says Wednesday’s game between the Utah Jazz and the Washington Wizards has been postponed because of COVID-19 protocols.

The league says because of contact tracing, the Wizards don’t have the required eight available players to take the floor for their scheduled home game against the Jazz.

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The Wizards said earlier Tuesday that two players had entered the league’s protocols meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and the team canceled practice, the latest in a wave of bad news related to the coronavirus pandemic for the league in recent days.

The postponement is the fifth in the NBA since Sunday, including three involving the Boston Celtics.

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Based on the most recent information released by teams, though the numbers can change quickly, it seems at least 36 players in the NBA entering Tuesday are dealing with some sort of virus-related issue. Those issues include players having to sit because contact-tracing data showed they may have been exposed to someone who may be positive for COVID-19.

“We’re in a tough spot with COVID,” Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said after his depleted team lost in Atlanta on Monday night. “Not a lot we can do with it. I have a sneaking feeling that there’s going to be a lot of teams with this problem.”

The NBA’s board of governors were scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss the latest virus issues within the league. The league’s general managers met on Monday, as did the National Basketball Players Association.

Miami was preparing to play in Philadelphia on Tuesday without eight players because of virus-related issues and subsequent contact tracing, a problem for the Heat that presented itself after they played in Washington on Saturday night. Boston’s game in Chicago on Tuesday was called off because of virus concerns, as was the Dallas-New Orleans game on Monday and the Heat-Celtics matchup in Boston on Sunday.

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The general managers talked about increasing roster sizes Monday, along with stiffening protocols about player interaction such as postgame handshakes and hugs, said a person familiar with the discussion. The GMs also discussed making even more of a commitment to social distancing and mask wearing, said the person who spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details of the conversations were not publicly announced.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver warned before the season that issues playing amid a pandemic would be “inevitable,” but the league has also said in recent days that pausing play is not currently something under consideration.

The league said on Thursday that, for testing during the preceding seven days, four players out of 498 in the league had new positive tests. That figure is expected to be updated later this week.

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