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NBA issues COVID-19 guidelines, protocols to teams for fully and non-vaccinated players

In a Jan. 8 game against the Washington Wizards at TD Garden, the Boston Celtics were left to compete with a bare minimum of players on the roster after eight players were listed as unavailable because they had been placed the NBA’s health and safety protocols list.Elise Amendola/Associated Press

With training camps set to open Sept. 28, fully vaccinated NBA players and coaches are not expected to be subject to regular coronavirus testing this season, the league told its teams Thursday. Exceptions to that policy will include situations such as a player or coach showing symptoms generally associated with the coronavirus or being exposed to an unvaccinated player who tests positive for COVID-19. Those who are not fully vaccinated will need to be tested on all days involving practice or travel and likely will be tested twice on game days. They’ll also have to wear masks at team facilities and during travel. And everyone, regardless of vaccination status, will be expected to submit to an antibody test before the season “to better identify individuals with a limited or waning immune response to vaccination,” the league said. It is still unclear if players will need to be tested on off days, the league said. Players, vaccinated or not, who return a positive or inconclusive test result again will be required to isolate immediately. It would likely be for 10 days if those test results are eventually confirmed as positive. Teams will likely have to arrange seating in almost all situations — travel, meals, meetings, even locker-room setups — to ensure that players who are not fully vaccinated are not seated directly next to another player. Earlier this week, the NBA told teams that in response to local regulations in New York and San Francisco teams, they would be required to be vaccinated unless exemptions for medical or religious reasons apply. The league also told teams that visiting teams would be exempt from those requirements in both cities but that the rules would apply to home teams, meaning the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors. The league has already told teams that anyone working within 15 feet of players, coaches and referees this season must be fully vaccinated. NBA referees who work games will also be fully vaccinated this season.


Ex-Bucs LB Keith McCants, 53, dead of suspected overdose

Former NFL linebacker Keith McCants was found dead at his home in Florida after a suspected drug overdose, investigators said. He was 53. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said in an email that deputies were called to a St. Petersburg home about 5:10 a.m. Thursday. McCants was dead inside the house, where others also apparently lived who made the 911 call. “It appears it was a drug overdose, but we are awaiting confirmation from the medical examiner’s office,” sheriff’s spokesperson Amanda Sinni said. “This is still an open investigation.” McCants, of Mobile, Ala., was an All-American at the University of Alabama and the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 1990 NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. McCants played for three seasons in Tampa, followed by stints with the then-Houston Oilers and Arizona Cardinals before his football career ended in 1995. McCants was arrested several times for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia over the years


Coach: Buccaneers are fully vaccinated

Bruce Arians says his team has reached 100 percent vaccination status.Matt Patterson/Associated Press

Coach Bruce Arians said the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, making the reigning Super Bowl champions the second NFL team to announce they’ve reached that status. “We’re 100 [percent] vaccinated. Everybody in our organization — all the players, all the coaches, everybody,” Arians said after practice. The Bucs open the season at home against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 9. The Atlanta Falcons are the other team that’s announced its roster is fully vaccinated. Earlier Thursday, kicker Ryan Succop was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Three other Tampa Bay players — defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh and reserve offensive linemen Earl Watford and Nick Leverett — are expected to return from the list before next week’s opener, Arians said . . . The Jacksonville Jaguars placed receiver Tavon Austin on injured reserve two days after coach Urban Meyer said he was good to go for the season opener. Austin, 31, injured his left quadriceps in practice last Friday and missed the team’s preseason finale at Dallas . . . Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey retired from the NFL after 10 seasons, the first nine with the Tennessee Titans and the last with the Denver Broncos, a hard decision he said his battered body helped him make . . . The Buffalo Bills said they won’t renew their lease with the State of New York or Erie County without a partially publicly funded agreement in place for a proposed new $1.4 billion stadium, leaving the team’s future uncertain beyond July 2023.




Revolution’s Adam Buksa delivers for Poland in World Cup qualifier

Poland's Adam Buksa (No. 14) scores his sides' second goal during Thursday's match against Albania.Czarek Sokolowski/Associated Press

Revolution forward Adam Buksa scored the second of four goals Poland had in a 4-1 victory over Albania in a World Cup qualifier. Buksa tallied in the 44th minute of Poland’s Group I triumph . . . Pelted with plastic cups after goals, England weathered a hostile atmosphere to beat Hungary 4-0 in a World Cup qualifier in Budapest, its first game since losing the European Championship final. Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Harry Maguire scored in a 14-minute flurry and Declan Rice added a fourth second-half goal as England secured a fourth straight victory in Group I to extend its lead to five points on the road to qualifying for Qatar . . . Sweden came from behind to beat Spain, 2-1, and leapfrog the visitors for first place of their World Cup qualifying group. Carlos Soler scored five minutes into his debut for Spain to put the visitors in front, but Aleksander Isak leveled seconds later. Viktor Claesson put Sweden ahead for good in the 57th . . . Oman, which has never qualified for the World Cup, shocked Japan, 1-0, in a qualifier in rainy Osaka when substitute Issam Al-Sabhi swept home from close range in the 88th minute . . . Less than two months after winning the European Championship at Wembley, Italy was held to a 1-1 draw by Bulgaria in World Cup qualifying. It ended Italy’s perfect start to the qualifying campaign but nevertheless matched Spain’s record run of 35 matches unbeaten, set between 2007 and 2009 . . . Cristiano Ronaldo was given early release from his international duties with Portugal’s national team and can begin his second spell at Manchester United earlier than anticipated. And he’ll reclaim his prized No. 7 jersey when he gets back to Old Trafford for a Sept. 11 match against Newcastle. Ronaldo was booked in a 2-1 victory over Ireland, a World Cup qualifying match during which he netted his 110th and 111th goals, and drew a suspension for Portugal’s qualifier against Azerbaijan on Tuesday, resulting in his early release . . . AC Milan forward Olivier Giroud tested positive for coronavirus, the Italian club said. The 34-year-old Giroud joined Milan from Chelsea in the offseason and scored his first two goals for the Rossoneri in Sunday’s 4-1 victory over Cagliari in Serie A. He was left out of France’s squad for the current round of World Cup qualifiers.



Boston Marathon requires proof of vaccination

The Boston Athletic Association is implementing some additional COVID-19 safety precautions for the postponed and pared-down Boston Marathon next month. BAA officials announced those running in the 125th race Boston Marathon Oct. 11 will need to provide proof of vaccination or produce a negative COVID-19 test . . . The Buffalo Sabres locked up a pair of 22-year-old youngsters considered integral to their rebuilding plans by re-signing center Casey Mittelstadt and defenseman Henri Jokiharju to three-year contracts each worth $7.5 million . . . Franchy Cordero, celebrating his 27th birthday, went 3 for 4 with a solo homer, 4 RBIs and 3 runs scored to lead the Worcester Red Sox (57-47) to a 10-2 victory over the host Rochester Red Wings (43-58) . . . Ronaldo Hernández went 2 for 4 with one run scored for the Double A Portland Sea Dogs (57-45) in a 3-1 victory vs. the host New Hampshire Fisher Cats . . . BC High promoted longtime assistant coach Steve Healy as its next varsity baseball head coach. Healy, a 1981 BC High graduate, replaces 41-year-coach Norm Walsh, who led the Eagles to three state titles and 16 Catholic Conference titles during his tenure.