The Indiana Pacers and the Toronto Raptors have cancelled Thursday practices to minimize COVID risk, with Pacers coach Rick Carlisle now out with COVID.
Early on Thursday morning, Shams Charania shared that both the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors would be cancelling their Thursday practices due to the risk of spreading COVID and “an abundance of caution.”
A few hours later, Charania revealed that Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle is now in COVID protocols with the likelihood of missing multiple games.
The precautions come as the Pacers advance on a two-game win streak this week, even amid rumors that the team is preparing for a rebuild by trading away its key players. Carlisle now joins Pacers guard Justin Holiday in safety protocols, which Holiday has been in since Nov. 30. Holiday is expected to return by Dec. 10.
Pacers, Raptors cancel practices to minimize COVID risk as Pacers coach Rick Carlisle tests positive
Unlike the Pacers, the Raptors do not currently have a coach or player in COVID health and safety protocols, but it seems the Canadian team is interested in preemptive measures due to Canada’s vigilance against the virus.
An NBA memo released earlier this week reminded teams that unvaccinated players would not be allowed to travel to Toronto beginning Jan. 15. The policy is a result of new Canadian laws that mandate all visitors entering the country be vaccinated. The memo also stated that the league needed a comprehensive list of all unvaccinated players by Dec. 10.
The COVID-19 virus and its protocols devastated the Raptors last season, who were the NBA team most affected by the virus. In addition to the team having to temporarily relocate to Tampa, FL, key players like Pascal Siakam and the entire Raptors coaching staff were sidelined with the virus. The Raptors finished the season with the seventh-worst record in the NBA, a far cry from their previous season in which they won the NBA Championship.
As the Pacers recover and the Raptors employ preventative measures, these two NBA teams start what could become a trend as the dangerous Omicron Variant of COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the globe.