The Boston Celtics were going to be extremely shorthanded for their game against the Miami Heat on Sunday night. On their official injury report, the Celtics listed a total of nine players as out against the Heat. Seven of those absences — Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Tristan Thompson, Semi Ojeleye, Grant Williams, Robert Williams, and Javonte Green — are due to players being placed in the league’s health and safety protocols amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Tatum and Robert Williams both reportedly tested positive for the virus. Two other players — Kemba Walker and Romeo Langford — were set to be out due to injury issues.
With all of those players sidelined, the Celtics would have only had eight players available to suit up against the Heat on Sunday. Those eight players are Tacko Fall, Aaron Nesmith, Payton Pritchard, Marcus Smart, Daniel Theis, Tremont Waters, Carsen Edwards, and Jeff Teague.
While the league was planning to allow for the Celtics to move forward and play tonight’s game with that eight-man roster, Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that the game has been postponed after an unidentified Heat player returned an inconclusive COVID-19 test leaving Miami with less than the league-mandated eight available players to compete due to contact tracing.
Shortly after the reports from Charania and Wojnarowski, the league issued a statement officially announcing the postponement noting how the Heat did not have enough players to field an eight-man roster due to contact tracing.
“The National Basketball Association game scheduled for tonight between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics at TD Garden has been postponed in accordance with the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.
Because of ongoing contact tracing with the Heat, the team does not have the league-required eight available players to proceed with tonight’s game against the Celtics.”
League spokesperson Mike Bass also offered up the following statement to Sopan Deb of The New York Times after the announcement that the contest between Miami and Boston would be postponed.
“We anticipated that there would be game postponements this season and planned this season accordingly. There are no plans to pause the season. We will continue to be guided by our medical experts and our health and safety protocols.”
Despite the postponement, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com is reporting that the league has no plans to pause the season at this time even though rosters throughout the league have been thinning because of COVID-19 protocols in several places.