Ex-NBA coach makes wild prediction about league's trajectory amid COVID outbreaks

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Former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy made a projection about the league’s trajectory this season while teams and players deal with an increase in positive coronavirus tests and the influx of the omicron variant.

Several NBA players have already been placed into health and safety protocols due to positive coronavirus tests with the Toronto Raptors possibly cutting back on attendance for home games due to the recent spike in North America.

ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy looks on prior to the game between the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on December 18, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

FILE -Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) wears a face mask to protect against the spread of COVID-19 during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. 
(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

The NBA has been one of the leagues forced to postpone or cancel games due to outbreaks. As of Wednesday afternoon, 33 players were in protocols.

“Like the rest of the country, and as was predicted by our infectious disease specialists, we have seen an increase of cases around the league,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said, adding that the league will continue to be driven by science and data and cooperate with the Players Association.

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, told the Associated Press the world is in a very different place than it was in 2020 at the start of the pandemic.

Toronto Raptors’ Gary Trent Jr. is welcomed onto the court before the team’s NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Toronto.
(Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

“The way our system is set up now, an infection triggers a chain of events and that leads to confusion, disruption, mayhem. But from a medical respect, these people are mainly vaccinated and not going to go to the hospital,” Chin-Hong said. “We’re in a very different world from a year ago. … It’s not too bad for young, healthy athletes.”

The NBA says 97% of players are vaccinated and just over 60% have received booster shots.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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