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NBA says 48 positive for COVID-19 in initial reentry testing

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The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association jointly announced Wednesday night that there were 48 positive tests for COVID-19 out of the 546 players tested from Nov. 24 to Nov. 30.

This was the initial round of tests for players as they returned to their teams’ markets ahead of the start of individual workouts Tuesday. The regular season is scheduled to start Dec. 22.

The NBA will be testing all of its players daily throughout the season.

While the league’s positive test rate of 8.8% in its initial testing is lower than the national average of 10.2% over the same time frame, it also is significantly higher than the 5.3% rate (16 out of 302) during the same return-to-market period in late June before play at the bubble in Orlando, Florida.

In total, 46 players tested positive for the coronavirus in the weeks leading up to and upon initially arriving at the bubble. After the bubble was formed, the league had no positive tests through the end of the season in mid-October.

As for this season, one team, the Golden State Warriors, delayed the beginning of its individual workouts by a day this week because of positive tests.

As the league detailed in its 139-page health and safety protocols released to teams over the weekend, a player will have to refrain from workouts for 10 days if he tests positive and remains asymptomatic — or 10 days from the end of his symptoms, if he has any. After that, a player will then have to spend two days working out individually, as well as have to pass a cardiac screening, before being allowed to resume full team activities.

That would make it a minimum 12 days from the time a player tested positive until he was able to resume full participation with teammates.

The NBA’s first preseason games are Dec. 11 — or fewer than 12 days from the end of the first testing window.

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Washington Wizards, Russell Westbrook fall in return from COVID-19 layoff

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SAN ANTONIO — Russell Westbrook had nine points, eight rebounds and six assists in 25 minutes in his first game in more than two weeks due to a left quadriceps injury.

His return came in the Washington Wizards‘ 121-101 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night. The Wizards hadn’t played since Jan. 11 after their previous six games were postponed because they did not have enough eligible players due to the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

The Wizards still had six players ineligible, and Washington faded down the stretch as coach Scott Brooks primarily used an eight-man rotation.

Bradley Beal scored 31 points, and Jerome Robinson added 16 points for Washington.

The Wizards made their first three shots, including a pair of 3-pointers. Washington was 14 for 42 overall on 3-pointers, helping it stay with San Antonio through three quarters. But the Spurs outscored the Wizards by 12 points in the fourth.

San Antonio finished 15 for 31 on 3-pointers in securing its largest margin of victory this season. The Spurs remain unbeaten in seven games when they hold a double-digit lead.

The Wizards fell to 3-9 on the season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Memphis Grizzlies have fifth straight game postponed

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Wednesday’s game between the Bulls and Grizzlies at FedExForum in Memphis has been postponed due to the NBA’s health and safety’s protocols.

It will be the Grizzlies’ fifth straight game postponed under the policy and sixth overall, matching the Washington Wizards for most in the NBA. The Wizards returned to action on Sunday, their first game in 13 days after six players tested positive for COVID-19 and three others had to miss several days following contact tracing.

The NBA said the game is being postponed due to contact tracing with the Grizzlies and the fact the team will not be able to practice before the scheduled game.

The Grizzlies have no new players entered into the health and safety protocols, a source told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The next scheduled game for the Grizzlies is Saturday in San Antonio against the Spurs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Washington Wizards’ Russell Westbrook returning from quad injury

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Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook will play in Sunday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, according to coach Scott Brooks, marking his first game action in more than two weeks due to a left quadriceps injury.

Westbrook hasn’t played since Jan. 8 due to the injury, which was caused by repeated contact to his quadriceps area, according to the team. But he has missed only two games due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the Wizards that led to six games being postponed.

Sunday’s game is the first for the Wizards since a win over the Phoenix Suns on Jan. 11. They still have six players listed as out Sunday due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

Westbrook, who is listed as a starter Sunday, is averaging 19.3 points, 11.3 assists and 9.7 rebounds in seven games this season.

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