Spurs game at Detroit called off over virus-related concerns

Sports

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, left, talks to referee Bill Kennedy during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

Tuesday’s game between San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons has been postponed, marking the second time this month that the NBA has called off a game because of coronavirus-related issues.

The NBA made the announcement Monday, saying the Spurs have someone who tested positive and that, combined with contact tracing, meant they would not have the league minimum of eight players available to begin a game.

The NBA does not announce the names of players who test positive; some have revealed positive tests on their own. The Spurs were without guard Quinndary Weatherspoon for their game Sunday against Charlotte because of the league’s COVID-19 protocols; Weatherspoon had played 10 minutes on Friday in Atlanta, then was flagged by the protocols over the weekend.

Being ruled out because of the protocols can suggest any number of things, including a positive test, a suspected positive test or contact-tracing data showing that a player may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19.

The only other game called off this month for a virus-related issue was on Feb. 1, also involving the Pistons — Detroit’s night game at Denver was postponed because of contact tracing issues involving the Pistons.

The NBA has made some schedule switches since — moving a Portland at Charlotte game that was to be played Feb. 7 until later in the season, for example — but hadn’t called off any more games until Monday.

Not including games that already were reshuffled, complications related to the virus have caused 24 postponements this season, with 22 of those coming in the last three weeks of January. Many of the postponed games will be made up in the second half of the season, which currently is scheduled to begin March 11.

The NBA is expected to release the second-half schedule in the coming days.

The league had 27 players test positive for COVID-19 in a two-week span of January, though only two players have been confirmed as positive in the three-week period that followed and went through Feb. 10. Those numbers will be updated later this week.

Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns returned to the Timberwolves’ lineup last week after a 13-game absence because he tested positive for COVID-19; Towns has lost seven family members, including his mother, to the virus.

Miami’s Tyler Herro missed a game last week because of a suspected positive test; subsequent tests showed he was fine and he was permitted to return to the Heat lineup after the one-game absence.

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