Mavs’ game vs. Pelicans postponed as NBA grapples with COVID-19 schedule disruptions – The Dallas Morning News

The Mavericks’ game Monday night against the Pelicans in American Airlines Center has been postponed because of COVID-19 related issues, the league announced Monday morning.

The Mavericks, as of Sunday night, had four players quarantined because of health and safety protocols: Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson, who remain in Denver, and Maxi Kleber. Dallas closed its practice facility Sunday after Kleber’s test results.

The Mavericks would’ve had at least eight players available Monday to meet the league’s minimum threshold to play, vice president of basketball communications Scott Tomlin said. But the NBA opted to postpone the contest “to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and other personnel” as contact tracing continues.

The NBA also postponed Tuesday’s Boston-Chicago game because of the Celtics’ ongoing COVID-19 roster shortage. In its announcement, the league said it planned to hold a meeting Monday with the NBA Players Association “about modifying the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.”

So far, the NBA has postponed four games this season, with the Mavericks’ being the third, while attempting to hold its season outside a quarantined environment during the coronavirus pandemic.

On the NBA’s last injury report Sunday night, 25 players across 16 teams were included under the “health and safety protocols” designation, which the league has used in cases of COVID-19 or close-contact absences this season. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement to ESPN Sunday “there are no plans to pause the season.”

The Mavericks’ disruptions first surfaced Friday, when they learned one player had tested positive for COVID-19 before the team’s flight home from Denver, where they beat the Nuggets in overtime Thursday night. Richardson, Finney-Smith and Brunson remained in Denver, while the rest of the travel party returned to Dallas.

The team did not practice Friday and did not gather or meet Saturday until just before a short-handed home win over the Magic. The Mavericks again did not practice Sunday, when they closed their facility and didn’t have a shootaround planned before Monday’s game.

This story will be updated.

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