Marc D'Amico: #NEBHInjuryReport update: Brad Stevens sa…

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Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. is nearing a return and is listed as questionable to play Friday night against the Phoenix Suns. Porter has been cleared from the NBA's health and safety protocols and returned to the team, a league source told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Nuggets coach Michael Malone said that Porter has to clear a cardio exam to return to play from the protocols.
Now that they’re in, it’s going to be very hard to get some players to opt out. “I love the game of basketball, so if I have the chance to play it, I will,” Grizzlies star guard Ja Morant told me on a Zoom Monday. “I also feel like COVID is a big thing going on right now. We still have to be safe. I feel like the league’s doing a great job, from last season to even this season, trying to stop it, make sure we keep the games going and everybody staying safe and healthy. I feel like as long as everybody locks into it, hold each other accountable and also their self, I feel like the season will be fine to continue to go on.”
Dr. Prins, who reviewed the protocols for The New York Times, noted that in defining close contact, the N.B.A. included a quote from the C.D.C. that said that the transmission from an infected person is based on several factors, including whether they are “likely to generate respiratory aerosols.” “Well what do we think is happening on the court?” Dr. Prins said. “This is not two people sitting across from each other for 10 minutes and they haven’t even been talking or anything. These are people who are breathing hard and calling to each other on the court. I think it is very likely that they are generating a lot of aerosols. For me, I would want a very conservative definition of close contact here.”
Chase Hughes: Wizards announce SIX players are out for Friday's game vs. Bucks due to Covid protocol, plus two more for injuries: Deni Avdija, Davis Bertans, Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura, Ish Smith, Moe Wagner. Also, Thomas Bryant (ACL) and Russell Westbrook (quad).

https://twitter.com/StevePopper/status/1352014824960630784
Booker and Towns were teammates at Kentucky for the 2014-15 season and have remained close. So the Phoenix Suns All-Star guard immediately reached out to Towns about his health and well being. "His health is my priority," Booker said. "The health of his family is my priority."
After witnessing some opposing players disregarding new league rules against unnecessary contact on game nights, the NBA is moving team security into the midcourt area to dissuade violations that include hugging and handshakes, according to a league memo obtained by ESPN on Wednesday.
Despite those changes, there were still instances of traditional players' contact in postgame scenarios, which led the NBA to issue a memo on Wednesday reaffirming the rules that require teams to remain on their half of the court in pregame and halftime warmups, and limits to physical contact that include only elbow or fist bumps. High-fives, hugs and handshakes aren't allowed, nor are extended conversations post-game.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday the league has discussed having players receive COVID-19 vaccines to educate and influence the public regarding their safety and effectiveness. "There have been discussions. It's something we're particularly focused on," Silver said at a virtual conference hosted by Sportico.
Andy Larsen: Quin Snyder: "We would encourage everybody to take the vaccine... we haven't had specific conversations [about that], we're just trying to follow the current protocols"
Casey Holdahl: CJ McCollum notes his aunt has COVID-19 during his first press conference since breaking his left foot. And it brings up something I've been struggling with, which is that's it's difficult to talk about sports injuries right now without feeling kind of... foolish I guess?
Paul Rosenberg: Stephen A reveals on First Take that NBA reporter Sekou Smith is suffering from covid & he is hearing that "he's not doing so well". Obviously first I have heard of it. Have had Sekou on a few times to chat NBA on WFAN. Hopefully he has a full recovery.
Ava Wallace: The Wizards have had a seventh player test positive, per sources, and one staff member. No staff had tested positive before now. Wizards brought eligible players in for individual work over the weekend but haven't gathered as a group since last Monday.
Maybe, if everything breaks right, sports leagues somehow muddle through this bleak winter, hanging on tight until players—and the rest of us—are finally all vaccinated. Until we reach the end of that tunnel. “Obviously we want sports, and we want activities that provide leisure and fun,” says Vespignani. “And I understand that for professional players—especially to play in an arena where there is no audience, to stay in a bubble aside from the family—it’s difficult. But these are difficulties we’re all facing in different ways. Children do not go to school. We work from home. So we all need to cope with that for a few more months and be very strict with the rules.
Keith Pompey: The #Sixers have NO new positive COVID-19 test results to report at this time, according to a team source. However, they’re partaking in ongoing contract tracing due to a covid-related issue involving a recent opponent.
John Karalis: Contact tracing on the Sixers postpones tonight's game with OKC. Philly is Boston's next opponent so let's see how this impacts games later this week

https://twitter.com/RedsArmy_John/status/1350934694729297926

https://twitter.com/joe_mussatto/status/1350934746218590218
Tim Bontemps: Tonight’s Sixers-Thunder game has been postponed, the league announces. Too many Sixers are in contact tracing protocols for the game to be played.
Fred Katz: I’m told the Wizards were able to start bringing select players into the practice facility for one-on-zero workouts yesterday. Players eligible to work out are, of course, ones are testing negative for COVID and also have been cleared re: contact tracing.
Christopher Hine: Rosas: "We feel like it's a protected, isolated situation with those exposures ... but this is significant to our family, that positive ... and our organization wasn't prepared to move forward tonight."

https://twitter.com/KarlTowns/status/1350223070376595460
Fred Katz: Tommy Sheppard said four of the six Wizards players with COVID are asymptomatic. The other two are feeling symptoms. One was feeling symptoms two days ago and has felt great the last two days, he says.
Years ago, a longtime NBA scout settled into Madison Square Garden for an early-season college game. He found his seat more than two hours before tip-off, eager to watch warmups. He’d heard good things about the prospect he had come to evaluate. The player, a college junior, was excelling for a ranked Big East team. The scout pulled out his notebook and pen.
But the player, whom the scout declined to name, “didn’t possess the demeanor of a pro.” He didn’t hustle. He “goofed off,” failed to run in straight lines during warmup drills and didn’t make much eye contact with teammates. “The overall feel I got left me with a lot of questions,” the scout recalls. “It was a red flag.” He crossed off the prospect’s name, packed his bags and left the arena — before the game had even begun. Sticking around, he reasoned, would have been a waste of time.
“When you see a player in person, I can’t tell you the world of difference it makes,” says a Western Conference scout based in the Northeast. “It’s all in the details you pick up: warmups, body language, what do they do when the camera isn’t on them. The stuff you can’t get on TV or on Synergy (an analytics and film platform). The biggest thing is that being at the games and seeing these guys for yourself reduces our organization’s risk as far as making a pick.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
More HoopsHype Rumors
February 26, 2021 | 4:54 am EST Update
During ESPN’s “The Jump,” reporter Marc Spears says NBA General Managers, executives and scouts are saying Southwest Division teams will be active around the trade deadline, including the San Antonio Spurs. And according to Spears, the Spurs are shopping LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan. “Another name is San Antonio, is kind of surprising” Spears said. “LaMarcus Aldridge’s name has been bandied about. Also, a little bit I’m hearing is DeMar DeRozan.”

Kyle Lowry's agent reacts to trade rumors

“There was a story about how he is pushing to go to Philadelphia, that’s just not true.” Kyle Lowry’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, tells @TermineRadio & @Jumpshot8 the Raptors point guard isn’t go anywhere.

“A lot of the rumors and things that are written about, are just … that’s just what they are is just rumors and they’re designed for people to click on the article. …That happened today with Kyle Lowry. There was a story today that he’s pushing to go to Philadelphia. That’s just not true. That story came out today, and so I had to get on the phone with [Raptors president] Masai [Ujiri] and [general manager] Bobby [Webster] and make sure they knew that certainly wasn’t coming from us.”
Storyline: Kyle Lowry Trade?
In an interview with NBC Sports Boston, he was asked if he was disappointed by the Celtics’ current position considering where they were at four years ago when they’d signed Gordon Hayward, traded for Kyrie Irving and drafted both Tatum and Brown in consecutive seasons. His answer was yes. And he also believes that Irving leaving was a setback for the team that had a “domino effect” that still hits the team today. “Well I would say I am disappointed, but I would also say that in those four years we’ve been to the conference finals 3 times. So it hasn’t been a wasteland, it’s been to the final four…But you know, we thought Kyrie would stay forever and lead us all the way. He’s on maybe the best team in the league right now and so, that’s that. And that change touched off a lot of stuff and we weren’t able to maybe recruit free agents in the same way and, you know, there’s a bit of a domino effect. But it is what it is.”
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