Vaccinated NBA players can return sooner, new protocols say


Under new NBA health and safety protocols, vaccinated players and coaches can clear quarantine in six days opposed to 10 if testing indicates they are no longer a risk.

The changes made on Monday, which were agreed to by the NBA and National Basketball Players Association, come at a time when 172 players entered protocols over the past two weeks. That included 24 on Sunday, which was the most in a single day this season.

The new protocols shorten the path for a return to play, including for players who were already in protocols.

Under the previous protocols, players who tested positive had to wait 10 days to test out of quarantine or produce two negative tests 24 hours apart.

The changes were announced the same day the CDC recommended shorter isolation for those who test positive for COVID-19, reducing the suggested quarantine period from 10 days to five.

The NBA followed the NFL in revising their protocols and reducing the return time for vaccinated players. The NFL earlier this month reduced the return-to-participation requirements for players by allowing individuals who are asymptomatic for at least 24 hours to return, including as soon as the day after a positive test.

The NFL also decreased the frequency that asymptomatic, vaccinated players are tested. Rather than being tested every week, vaccinated players instead are regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Players who develop symptoms are tested further and quarantined.

Teams also have the option to enforce their own precautions, with the Philadelphia Eagles opting to keep their quarterbacks separated to prevent a spread at the position.

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