Mendoza: NBA’s weak roster rule

Al Mendoza
·2 min read

It was insanely crazy, to say the least. Who said it wouldn’t happen in the NBA (National Basketball Association)?

I refer to that game between Philadelphia and Denver weekend last.

It shouldn’t have been held at all.

Philadelphia had only seven healthy players, its lineup depleted by Covid-19 protocols and injuries.

To meet the eight-player rule for a team to play, the Sixers were forced to activate an injured player.

Thus, Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers ordered Mike Scott, who has a left knee injury, to suit up. But Scott didn’t play at all—naturally.

If that’s not crazy, what is?

It would have been crazier, though, if the Sixers won. They did not—naturally—yielding a 115-103 defeat to the visiting Nuggets.

“Covid created this, but the concern is not Covid now,” said Rivers, who immediately got the Sixers job after he got fired as the hard-luck coach of the Los Angeles Clippers last season. “The concern is injuries.”

Before the game, Rivers said: “I don’t think we should play, but it’s not for me to express that. I do worry about our players’ health.”

Philadelphia’s roster was decimated by health protocols on contact tracing and injuries to its stars Cameroonian Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Australian Ben Simmons.

Why didn’t Rivers push for postponing the game?

Covid versus NBA rules?

Who knows, Rivers might have earned plaudits had he ordered a walkout?

Earlier, didn’t Houston postpone its season opener against Oklahoma because of positive tests and contact tracing issues for the Rockets?

Continued Rivers: “I trust the league and I trust the doctors as far as health-wise. I’m more concerned with health on the floor.”

Then why didn’t he go for it?

That game was nothing but a charade.

Even Nuggets coach Mike Malone was ambiguous, saying: “They (NBA officials) deemed it safe enough to play. To be honest, I think we’re going to start seeing more of this.”

Gamble on our players’ health? Play phony games if only to co-exist with the virus?

I hope not. The virus has remained that deadly almost one year after it started inflicting this pandemic on us—with a new variant even threatening the world all the more.

The NBA must do its part.

PBA beware.