The days of the bubble in Orlando seem far gone to many, but the threat that COVID-19 poses to the 2021-22 NBA season has only grown since October. As of December 19th, a whopping 71 players are out due to COVID-19 protocols, forcing teams to employ some unfamiliar faces to take the court.
While it led to plenty of jokes on social media, the COVID-19 situation has affected the Clippers as well. Nicolas Batum just recently returned from an ankle injury which was preceded by a lengthy absence due to a COVID-19 diagnosis. He did mention how the virus affected him physically as he was at home in quarantine, but his recent performance in Oklahoma City should give some comfort to Clipper fans worried about his conditioning.
Yet, the good news of Batum’s return was short-lived, as Marcus Morris entered protocols on the 18th and had to sit out against the Thunder.
Clippers’ Marcus Morris Sr. enters NBA’s COVID protocols https://t.co/rqAtL5XxQe— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) December 18, 2021
For a Clippers team already missing its prime offensive weapon in Paul George, Morris’ reliable post game and spot-up shooting was heavily counted on. The weaknesses of the team without both George and Morris was evident in the loss in Oklahoma City, which did come down to the line but was a winnable game nonetheless. This is something that nearly all teams are having to contend with, as just 11 teams currently report no players lost due to COVID-19 protocols.
With the first game cancellations being implemented, it’s not a stretch to assume that players and league officials alike are harboring a sense of uneasiness related to the uncertainty of the NBA season’s foreseeable future. We can just continue crossing our fingers in the hopes that our favorite players can stay healthy, and thus, can stay on the court.
More news for Monday:
- Kyrie Irving is reportedly returning to play for the Nets as a part-time player, changing the story of his saga in Brooklyn.
- Another player is making an attempt to return to the NBA—this time, it’s Mario Chalmers in the G-League.
- Ty Lue’s coaching has earned him respect throughout the league. Read more here detailing how he navigates the bond with his team.
- Famed boxer Floyd Mayweather himself has encouraging words to say for Paul George and his career post-injury.
- Speaking of boxing, former NBA All-Star Deron Williams made his debut against Frank Gore of the NFL.