The Boston Celtics game against the Miami Heat game has been postponed due to an inconclusive COVID-19 test on the Heat. That brings the number of Miami players available for the game below eight, the league minimum for starting a game. Here is the official statement by the NBA:
The Celtics only had eight players available after Jayson Tatum’s positive COVID-19 test. Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Tristan Thompson, Semi Ojeleye, Grant Williams, Robert Williams, and Javonte Green are all out due to health and safety protocols.
A makeup date for the game has not been announced.
The league is facing its first test of its COVID-19 health and safety plan. The Heat and Celtics are in dire positions, teetering on the edge of even being able to suit up teams. Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks have shut down their practice facility after Maxi Kleber tested positive this weekend. The Philadelphia 76ers played a game with eight “active” players yesterday but only seven healthy bodies.
Despite the growing number of cases, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the NBA has no plans to pause the season.
ESPN Sources: While the Celtics-Heat game has been postponed tonight, the NBA has no plans to pause the season despite thinning rosters because of COVID-19 protocols in several places.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 10, 2021
The league has not set any actual criteria for deciding on a pause, electing to play it by ear and see what constitutes isolated cases versus an outbreak. The NBA has expected cases, and up until this weekend, only returned four positive tests in two weeks. A new round of testing data will be released this week.