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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver: 'No plans' to pause season due to COVID-19

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver: 'No plans' to pause season due to COVID-19
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, shown Oct. 8, 2019, noted that the Omicron variant is "beyond dominant" within the league at the moment. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 21 (UPI) -- NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday that the league currently has no plans to suspend its season as COVID-19 outbreaks continue throughout the NBA.

"No plans right now to pause the season," Silver told ESPN. "We have, of course, looked at all the options, but frankly we are having trouble coming up with what the logic would be behind pausing right now.

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"As we look through these cases literally ripping through the country, let alone the rest of the world, I think we're finding ourselves where we sort of knew we were going to get to over the past several months. And that is this virus will not be eradicated, and we're going to have to learn to live with it. I think that's what we're experiencing in the league right now."

The NBA was forced to postpone seven games over the past week -- including five over the last three days -- as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus swept through the league.

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Silver noted that the Omicron variant is "beyond dominant" within the league at the moment.

"We're up around probably 90% of the positive cases we're seeing right now are Omicron," he said.

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Silver's stance on not pausing the season echoes the memo that league officials sent to teams Sunday evening. In that memo, the NBA announced new rules regarding extra replacement players, giving teams additional flexibility to add players upon losing some to the league's health and safety protocols.

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Silver, however, said the league isn't prepared to change its position on how long players have to sit out after a positive COVID-19 test. Under the NBA's protocols, a player who tests positive is required to either sit out for 10 days or return two negative PCR tests more than 24 hours apart.

"We always are measuring viral loads with our PCR test," Silver said. "So that's something, again, that it's not just our doctors but the medical community is looking at. I think they're already realizing that you can move away from the 10-day protocol when you have players who are vaccinated and boosted.

"It seems the virus runs through their systems faster. They become not just asymptomatic but, more importantly, they're not shedding the virus anymore. That's the real concern in terms of others. And so we are actively looking at shortening the number of days players are out before they can return to the floor."

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According to the league, about 97% of the NBA's players are vaccinated. Silver noted that about 65% of the players who are eligible for a booster shot have received one.

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