NBA pushes back 3 more Grizzlies games, due to virus issues
MEMPHIS, TENN. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies are the latest NBA team that will have a coronavirus-related extended break from games, after the league announced Thursday that their next three contests will be postponed because of a lack of available players.
Friday’s game at Portland, along with home games Sunday and Monday against Sacramento, were pushed back, the NBA said. That decision came one day after the Grizzlies’ game at Portland, scheduled for Wednesday, was also called off.
“The games are being postponed due to unavailable players for the Grizzlies and contact tracing for other players on their roster, and in order to ensure the health and safety of players on both teams,” the NBA said.
Memphis is assured of what will be no less than a nine-day break. The Grizzlies played Monday against Phoenix — getting their fifth straight win to improve to 7-6. The earliest they’ll play again is Jan. 27 against Chicago.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday that the Suns can continue to play on because the virus exposure within the Grizzlies organization is isolated.
The three additional postponements bring the total of games that have been postponed so far this season to 20, with all but one of those coming since Jan. 10. Washington — which will go at least 13 days between games after a half-dozen of its players tested positive — has seen six games called off, and Memphis has now had five of its games pushed back.
Postponed games, when possible, will be made up in the second half of the season that starts March 11 and runs through May 16. It’s unclear how many will actually be rescheduled; the Wizards, for example, are looking at potentially playing 41 games in those 67 days, while the Grizzlies would in theory have to play 40 games in that span.
Players who test positive must undergo a battery of exams before being cleared to return to play, such as cardiac tests. Those ruled out by contact tracing may return after a quarantine period, provided they continue to test negative for COVID-19.