The NBA has been forced to postpone another game due to COVID-19 protocols. The Washington Wizards and Utah Jazz had a matchup scheduled for Wednesday evening. However, one of the teams did not have the required number of players available to step onto the court.
"The National Basketball Association game scheduled for tomorrow between the Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena has been postponed in accordance with the league's Health and Safety Protocols," the league said in a statement. "Because of ongoing contact tracing with the Wizards, the team does not have the league-required eight available players to proceed with tomorrow's game against the Jazz." The two teams will remain idle until Friday. Washington has a road game against the Detroit Pistons while the Jazz will host the Atlanta Hawks.
The announcement of the postponed game took place hours after the league unveiled new coronavirus protocols. Several other games were impacted by the number of rising cases, including three separate delayed matchups featuring the Boston Celtics. The issues forced the NBA to change the guidelines for the respective franchises.
Under the new guidelines, players are required to "remain at their residence (when the team is in its home market) at all times except to attend team-related activities at the team facility or arena, exercise outside, or perform essential activities, or as a result of extraordinary circumstances." Additionally, the league restricted away-from-work interactions to household members, family or personal staff working regularly in the home.
The new guidelines also apply to road trips. Players and team staff are prohibited from leaving the hotel other than for team activities or emergencies. They are also not allowed to interact with non-team guests at the hotel. When traveling to destinations for upcoming games, the teams must arrange seating on the flights so that players who sit next to each other on the bench also sit next to each other during the trip.
Among the list of guidelines is an increased focus on face masks. The league said that all players must wear face masks on the bench at all times. Upon exiting the game, and prior to returning to the bench, players can sit in 'cool down chairs,' arranged at least 12 feet from the bench with each chair 6 feet apart, where face masks are not required," the guidelines say. "Once a player has cooled down, he must return to his assigned seat on the bench and wear a face mask until he enters the game again."