LOS ANGELES – Two more games involving the Washington Wizards were postponed on Friday as the team faced a worsening COVID-19 outbreak, the NBA confirmed.
A statement from the NBA said Washington’s back-to-back games against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday and Monday had been shelved as the team did not have enough players available.
“Because of ongoing contact tracing within the Wizards, the team does not have the league-required eight available players to proceed with the scheduled games against the Cavaliers,” the NBA said.
The postponements come amid reports on Friday that five Wizards players have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Two other games involving Washington had already been postponed this week.
The NBA scratched its 13th game of the four-week-old season later Friday when the Memphis at Minnesota contest was called off barely two hours before tip-off due to ongoing contact tracing leaving the host Timberwolves without the minimum eight players available.
The league and its players union updated COVID-19 health and safety protocols on Tuesday aimed at keeping players healthy and available to play.
The new measures were imposed “in response to the surge of COVID-19 cases across the country and an uptick among NBA teams requiring potential player quarantines,” a league statement said.
Unlike last year, when the NBA completed its season in a secure quarantined “bubble” in Orlando, the 2020-2021 campaign is taking place with teams playing at their home venues.
The early weeks of the season however are unfolding against the backdrop of skyrocketing Covid-19 cases across the United States, where the disease has claimed more than 391,000 lives and infected over 23 million people.