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The NBA may not be able to accommodate all of the postponed games this season

COVID protocols could increase as the season goes on.

Sacramento Kings v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images

COVID-19. There is not a greater virtual water cooler conversation going on — exactly how and when will the United States start to see a return to “normalcy”?

A new presidential administration means changes to the procedures in masking, vaccinations, school re-openings, travel, economics, and sports.

For the time being, America continues to see concerning factors surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. And now, the NBA is providing more questions than answers.

When the NBA shut down in March, the promise of a resumed season was based on creating sustainable health protocols. The NBA succeeded in being able to isolate the players and necessary staff in a “bubble.” Not only did the season return, it hosted a full postseason and concluded with the crowning of a champion. It was the one major sport who seemed to have it all together.

Although this season was delayed in starting, there seemed to be a number of protocols in place that would allow for teams to be home with their families and play with truncated travel, limited interaction, and most cases with no or very low numbers of in-person fans.

This Monday, the Spurs had their first postponement due to COVID protocols. Already, San Antonio had been short the services of Drew Eubanks and Becky Hammon (who were both set to return this week), but the trip to New Orleans rendered both teams short of the eight-player minimum to be able to play. That means, despite injuries to Derrick White and Quinndary Weatherspoon, the Spurs lost roughly half their squad between Sunday night’s win at home against the Washington Wizards and Monday night’s scheduled game in the Big Easy.

What happened in the less than twenty-four hour span is a mystery.

How that game (and the other twenty-one put on ice thus far) will be made up is also a mystery. Presumably, the NBA’s decision to release only the first half-season schedule was to allow for space to plan the second half as needed.

Will the league end with some teams having played less games than others? And how will that affect the standings when the dust is settling on the regular season and the post looms?

Keep in mind, the country is still reeling in the numbers involving holiday cases. Vaccines are going out, but it is estimated that most of 2021 could pass before enough people are inoculated to be considered a success. Before “regular” life resumes.

Could the NBA go back into a bubble for the second half of the season? It wouldn’t be out of the question if travel is what causes the postponement of the games.

Could the season be cut short, or canceled altogether?

Is this the calm before the storm, or is this as bad as it will get?

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