More than 1/3 of NBA referees also in COVID protocols


It’s not just games that are postponed and a third of NBA coaches in league health and safety protocols.

More than a third of NBA referees are also in league protocols, which has led to matches with two officials and a few G-League calls, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

As the omicron variant tears NBA players and coaches apart, it has peaked this season among game officials: 36% of league officials are on COVID-19 protocols, sources told ESPN Thursday.

With 25 of the league’s 70 active referees currently in quarantine, the league has promoted G League referees to fill the nightly match list, sources said. There have been rare instances recently where only two referees – instead of the standard three – were available for games, but the NBA has continued to work to limit those opportunities, sources said.

All NBA referees must be vaccinated and must receive a booster injection by January 5. Although the injections help reduce symptoms and the severity of the disease, being vaccinated is not a sure-fire shield against contracting the virus (especially the easier-to-spread Omicron variant).

The NBA is trying to pass this wave of viruses. It has increased testing, shortened the time positive but asymptomatic players (and referees) must quarantine (following CDC recommendations) and requires teams to bring in temporary players to fill positions. It will be the same with the referees; the NBA will just try to pass.

But it’s not just the players who are feeling the effects of this surge.

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