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Grizzlies fan-favorite Ja Morant out of COVID-19 protocols, virus impacts NBA

Published: Dec. 19, 2021 at 9:24 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 20, 2021 at 7:25 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Rising COVID-19 cases are having a big impact on the NBA.

Memphis Grizzlies crowd favorite, Ja Morant, was back on the bench for Sundays game now that he’s out of COVID protocols.

With COVID-19 on the rise fans hope the team is able to finish off the season strong.

On Sunday, the NBA postponed a total of five games involving nine teams in response to increasing COVID-19 numbers.

The Memphis Grizzlies were not directly impacted by these cancelations.

Before Sundays game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Head Coach Taylor Jenkins shared good news about Ja Morant, who was out for a few games due to a knee injury and COVID protocols.

“Really excited that he’s out of protocols, I’m feeling really good. Actually today was our first day to really get our hands on him and see how he’s feeling due to testing,” Jenkins said.

Leaguewide there were at least 68 players who have either been ruled out to play — or in the case of the postponed games, would have been ruled out — because they are in the protocols.

“We’re continuing to remind our guys, and we’re talking as a team about the steps that you can take from just simply masking up, the social distancing, understanding with the holidays coming around, you know the extra testing that we are going to be providing for players, and staff, and families,” Jenkins said.

The NBA says 97% of players are fully vaccinated and around 60% received booster shots as of last week.

Fans are hoping COVID-19 doesn’t impact the Grizzlies season.

“I just hope they can finish it, I think I saw the Nets canceled a couple of games today so hopefully everybody just stay smart, and stay safe and we can keep going. Hopefully make it to the playoffs again! Yes, that’s what we’re hoping, finish strong,” Grizzlies fan Stave Hooper said.

“I hope that COVID stops and that everyone can just got back to normal, and we can all just play basketball and watch basketball,” another fan, Allie Marek, said.

The NBA added significantly to the list of postponements due to teams not having enough players to compete because they are under COVID protocols.

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