As COVID-19 cases spike around the NBA, the Boston Celtics’ home game against the Miami Heat scheduled for Sunday night at TD Garden has been postponed.
The official NBA news release said due to ongoing COVID-19 contact tracing, the Heat did not have the league-required minimum of eight players to proceed with the game.
Both teams had limited rosters for the game due to the protocols, with Boston having just the league minimum eight players available.
The news came hours after Heat guard Avery Bradley was ruled out for Sunday’s game because of the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. It’s unclear if Bradley tested positive for the virus or if he’s being forced to miss time because of contact tracing.
While Bradley was the only Heat player on Sunday afternoon’s injury report whose status was affected by the protocols, it was later decided that there were enough Heat players who would be unavailable because of contact tracing to force the postponement of Sunday night’s game, a league source told the Miami Herald.
The Celtics had nine players unavailable for Sunday’s game, leaving them with just eight players after Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Semi Ojeleye and Javonte Green were ruled out for Sunday’s game officially due to NBA Health and Safety Protocols, which is the league’s designation for anything COVID-19 related. Those four Celtics joined Tristan Thompson, Grant Williams and Robert Williams, who were already in quarantine.
Before Sunday night’s game was postponed, Boston’s active roster included Marcus Smart, Daniel Theis, Payton Pritchard, Jeff Teague, Aaron Nesmith, Carsen Edwards, Tacko Fall and Tremont Waters. Other than centers Theis and Fall, only Nesmith, who is 6-foot-6, is taller than 6-foot-3.
Nesmith, Edwards, Waters and Fall have each played in less than 50% of the team’s games this season and are averaging 13 minutes or less in the games they have played.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Saturday that Tatum is expected to enter quarantine and miss 10 to 14 days because of the league’s health and safety protocols. Tatum tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday and was awaiting a confirmation test, according to the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy.
The Boston Globe reported Robert Williams tested positive for COVID-19, and forwards Thompson and Grant Williams were out because of contact tracing.
Boston also wouldn’t have had Kemba Walker (left knee injury recovery) and Romeo Langford (right wrist surgery) for Sunday’s game.
The Celtics and Heat are among several teams across the league who have lost players recently. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said the league has no plans currently to pause the season.
The Celtics’ next scheduled game is Tuesday night at Chicago.