Following center Jonas Valanciunas entering the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols over the weekend and the postponement of the Grizzlies’ Wednesday night game against Portland, the NBA on Thursday morning announced that Memphis’ next three games had also been postponed.
The league said this came because of unavailable players as well as additional contact tracing that will leave Memphis without a full roster for at least the next week. The Grizzlies’ next three games were scheduled to come against the Trail Blazers (again) followed by a back-to-back against the Kings.
As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted on Twitter, the league’s announcement does not definitively state that Memphis is without the minimum eight players required by the NBA to play a game.
To be clearer: League says games are postponed due to “unavailable players” on the roster, and “contact tracing for other players.” League doesn’t specify that Memphis is without eight eligible players for games. https://t.co/3anLv3lSrc
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 21, 2021
That could mean the NBA is tightening its protocols to keep team outbreaks better under control rather than forcing teams onto the court if they have eight players, or it could in all honesty just mean the NBA’s release was not particularly specific.
Either way, this is a blow for Memphis, which had been on a five-game winning streak and building momentum with the return of Ja Morant to the lineup. The Grizzlies now face a pause similar to that of the Wizards as they await the recovery and continued negative tests of their players and staff ahead of a Jan. 27 home game against the Bulls that is now the soonest Memphis could be back on the court.