Five members of the Cavaliers have returned positive COVID tests and Sunday’s road game against the Hawks is in doubt, as first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The Cavs (19-12) are coming off a road win against the Bucks and have won six straight overall. Forwards Evan Mobley and Isaac Okoro had already entered health and safety protocols, meaning the Cavs could have at least seven players unavailable.
Hawks All-Star guard Trae Young has also entered protocols, per reports.
Cleveland is likely eligible to sign players via the league’s hardship exception, but there are complications with that, given that their next game is on the road and scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.
“The majority of players that fall under the hardship umbrella are in Las Vegas for the G-League Cup,” ESPN’s Bobby Marks wrote. “The travel logistics present a challenge to get extra bodies in uniform by tonight.”
The five Cavs have not yet been identified, but those with positive tests will need to spend 10 days in protocols or return two negative tests in a 24-hour span before returning, per NBA rules.
The NBA reportedly has a vaccination rate of 97 percent, but like the NFL and NHL, is experiencing a major outbreak of positive tests and players entering protocol. The Associated Press reported Thursday evening that about 8 percent of NBA players were in protocol. That number has about doubled since then.
Hoops Wire will have more on this story as it develops.