The NBA has been ravaged by the COVID-19 omicron variant over the last few weeks with several teams having to sign replacement players just to try and prevent games from being postponed.
The list of players and coaches in the league’s health and safety protocols has become never-ending, and according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, that doesn’t exclude NBA referees, either.
NBA COVID-19 tracker: Team-by-team list of players in protocols | Which games have been postponed due to COVID?
As of Dec. 30, Wojnarowski reported that over one-third of the NBA’s officials are in the league’s health and safety protocols – a season-high 36 percent.
“With 25 of the league’s 70 active referees currently in quarantine, the league has been promoting G League referees to fill out the nightly roster of games, sources said,” Wojnarowski stated in his report.
“There have been rare instances lately when only two referees — instead of the standard three — were available for games, but the NBA has continued to work to limit those occasions, sources said,” Wojnarowski also wrote.
He added that NBA referees are 100% vaccinated and are required to be fully boosted. Only a percentage of refs currently on road trips haven’t been boosted, but must do by Wednesday, Jan. 5.
He also cited that officials don’t have the protections – like charter flights and five-star hotels – that teams and players do, but the NBA has been working with the National Basketball Referees Association on improvements related to travel that may lessen the exposure to the virus.