The NBA and National Basketball Players Association have agreed on new health and safety protocols that would further shorten the timetable for asymptomatic and vaccinated players to return to play after a positive COVID test, league sources told ESPN on Friday.
Previously, such players could be cleared from protocols after seven days if testing data showed that their cycle threshold (CT) levels were above 35, but the new protocols would allow players to return after five days if their CT levels are above 30, league sources said.
CT levels can help indicate how infectious an individual may be, and a CT level of 30 is considered fainter than, say, 20.
The move should help replenish rosters that have been decimated by COVID as the Omicron variant rages through the league. As of Friday morning, 260 players total have entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols this season, including 247 in December alone. Nine head coaches have also entered protocols in December, and 11 games have been postponed.