The NBA announced on Monday afternoon the postponement of two more regular season games, including the Celtics-Bulls matchup on Tuesday night in Chicago. It is the second straight postponement of a Celtics game this week, the other coming hours before tip on Sunday night when the Heat did not have the minimum eight players cleared to play due to contact tracing.
The Celtics were expected to have just eight available players (out of 17) on Sunday night due to NBA health and safety protocols. However, Tuesday’s postponement is an indication that the number of cleared Celtic players has dropped below eight in the last 24 hours with another player or player(s) entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols following recent COVID-19 test results. With Kemba Walker (knee) and Romeo Langford (wrist) still not cleared to play yet medically due to their injuries, there’s a strong chance that the Celtics-Magic game on Wednesday night in Boston will be postponed as well if none of the players currently in quarantine are cleared by the league to return.
The NBA also announced that the league is meeting with the NBPA about potential modifying the league’s health and safety protocols in the wake of a busy week of postponement, positive tests and players out for extended stretches due to contact tracing.
Let’s begin with a look at what we know about the current state of the Celtics roster, with a look at a timeline of the past few days:
—Rob Williams tests positive for COVID-19, enters 10-14 day quarantine
—Grant Williams, Tristan Thompson declared out for Friday’s game with R. Williams against the Wizards due to contract tracing. G. Williams and Thompson begin 7-day quarantine.
—Jayson Tatum tests positive for COVID-19 during his second COVID-19 test of the day with the results coming in after the win over the Wizards. His positive test is confirmed on re-tests over the weekend.
Saturday 1/9- Sunday 1/10
—Jaylen Brown, Javonte Green and Semi Ojeleye are ruled out due to contact tracing and enter 7-day quarantine. Celtics down to eight available bodies for Sunday’s game against Heat
—Heat-Celtics game postponed hours before tip after a Heat player (Avery Bradley) returns an inconclusive COVID-19 test. Due to contact tracing and injuries, the Heat do not have eight players cleared to play the game against Boston’s eight players.
—NBA postpones Celtics-Bulls game in Chicago on Tuesday night due to C’s not having eight players cleared to play.
Potential return timetables for Celtics players in protocol
Friday 1/16 vs. Magic: Tristan Thompson and Grant Williams clear 7-day quarantine with negative tests. Kemba Walker is