CLEVELAND — *EDITOR'S NOTE: The above video is from a previous story.
As the latest COVID-19 surge continues to rock the American sports landscape, the Cleveland Cavaliers have now been affected.
The team announced Thursday that wingman Isaac Okoro has entered the NBA's health and safety protocols, the latest in a slew of players across the league to be sidelined due to the coronavirus. The team declined to comment further, only saying that more information would be given "at the appropriate time."
NBA rules stipulate a vaccinated player who tests positive for COVID can only return if he does not have a fever and later tests negative at least twice 24 hours apart. In addition, those who are vaccinated but come into close contact with someone who has the virus do not have to quarantine, but must be tested daily for a week.
As cases rise across America, sports have not steered clear of the impact, with the Browns recently placing more than a dozen players on their reserve/COVID-19 list and the Cleveland State and Ohio State men's basketball programs both canceling games due to virus spread. In the NBA, stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Russell Westbrook have been placed in protocols, and the association has decided all personnel who are not fully vaccinated with an additional booster shot will soon be subject to more rigorous testing.
The Cavs are off to a promising 18-12 start, and the former No. 5 overall pick Okoro has been at the center of it. In his last four outings, the second-year Auburn product is averaging 18.5 points per game (all wins) on 70% shooting while remaining a presence on defense.
Cleveland has been hit by COVID concerns already this season, with Kevin Love and Lauri Markkanen both missing multiple games while in the protocols. The team is scheduled to play Saturday night in Milwaukee against the defending champion Bucks, and due to the requirement of two negative tests, it could be unlikely that Okoro makes the trip.
This is a developing story. Stay with 3News for updates.