Jaden Ivey has had a strong rookie season for the Detroit Pistons. That’s despite it being almost a week since he last played.
Ivey entered the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols on Friday and has been listed on the injury report since. He has missed three consecutive games, but Wednesday brought a change in his status, as Ivey was listed as “probable” in the team’s injury report ahead of Thursday’s game against the Denver Nuggets.
Those who followed the Pistons or NBA during the peak pandemic seasons are familiar with the injury designation. For those who aren’t, here’s what health and safety protocols are, ahead of Ivey’s potential return.
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What are health and safety protocols?
Like it did during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, the NBA has rules in place to protect players and team personnel from COVID-19 outbreaks. This season, vaccinated personnel are only required to test when they have symptoms. Unvaccinated personnel are required to undergo weekly surveillance testing — either molecular or rapid PCR if teams prefer the latter option.
If an individual has recently recovered — the NBA defines this as being within 90 days of a positive test — that individual is exempt from surveillance testing.
The league defines “vaccinated” as completing a full course of an FDA-approved vaccine, meaning two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson. The National Basketball Players Association stated last season that 97% of players are vaccinated, and 75% have received at least one booster.
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What happens when a player tests positive?
Following a positive or inconclusive test, individuals are required to isolate and stay away from team personnel and team facilities until they return a negative test and are cleared by a team and league physician.
When players are listed on the injury report due to “health and safety protocols,” it usually indicates that they tested positive and are awaiting a negative test result.
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When will Ivey return?
Ivey apparently tested negative on Wednesday, clearing the way for his return on Thursday (though his minutes may be limited, considering his light workload over the past week).
Wednesday marks five days since he entered health and safety protocols last Friday. Several players have returned within a week of entering protocols this season. Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander exited protocols on March 4 after entering on Feb. 28, and Zion Williamson returned on Dec. 28 after entering on Dec. 22.
Ivey appears on track to return to Detroit’s lineup in time for Thursday’s home game against the Nuggets. The Pistons’ next game comes Sunday at home against the Miami Heat.
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