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Despite Boasting High Vaccination Rate, NBA Clearly Has A COVID Problem

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Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan entered into the NBA’s health and safety protocols before Monday’s game against the Denver Nuggets to become the third fully vaccinated Bulls player in the health and safety protocols.

DeRozan joins Coby White and Javonte Green, both of whom tested positive for COVID-19 last week, ESPN reports.

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said he wasn’t necessarily surprised, despite the team reaching a 100% COVID vaccination status on Nov. 4.

“It’s pretty clear just from a national standpoint — forget the NBA — people that are vaccinated are getting COVID,” Donovan said. “That’s happened. I think because of the NBA being such a small business, so to speak, with players that have got national recognition, you see it a lot more. But I think for people that have been vaccinated that are just out there as citizens, they’re testing positive too.”

Donovan continued: “I don’t think anybody was under the premise that just because you’re going to be vaccinated that you have no chance of getting COVID. I think that’s been proven pretty much to be the case, that you still have the possibility. The hope is, by being vaccinated, that the symptoms aren’t as severe. You’re not dealing with some of the things that maybe you have to deal with if you’re unvaccinated. It’s just what we’re all going through.”

While DeRozan entered into the league’s protocols, it is not clear whether he tested positive for COVID-19.

“I know there’s probably a lot more questions about, ‘Is he positive, is he negative?’ I don’t even know yet,” Donovan said before Monday’s game. “This is obviously coming from the league, and we’ll have more information going forward. This just transpired this afternoon, so I can’t really confirm or deny if it’s a false positive or is positive. I just don’t know right now.”

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James was declared out for last week’s game against the Sacramento Kings after reportedly testing positive for COVID-19, but the star player’s test appeared to be a false positive after subsequent testing.

Although the NBA is reportedly 97% vaccinated — and more than 60% of players have received a booster shot — the league is still dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks among teams. 

Four members of the Charlotte Hornets were entered into the league’s COVID protocols over the weekend, The Daily Wire reports. LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Mason Plumlee, and Jalen McDaniels were placed in protocols on Saturday, with Ish Smith being added to the list on Monday. 

While four-time All-Star Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers missed nine games in November due to his bout with the virus, the outlet reports.

NBA insider Shams Charania reported on Tuesday that unvaccinated players will no longer be able to travel to Canada to play games in Toronto due to rules put in place by the Canadian government. 

Follow Meg Turner on Twitter @Megnturner_ and Instagram @Megnturner.


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Written by Megan Turner

Megan graduated from the University of Central Florida and writes and tweets about anything related to sports. She replies to comments she shouldn't reply to online and thinks the CFP Rankings are absolutely rigged. Follow her on Twitter at @Megnturner_ and Instagram at @Megnturner.

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