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Raptors suspend team practices due to COVID-19 threat; enforce individual training instead

On Monday the Toronto Raptors announced that they would be suspending team practices and instead encourage individual players to train with the coaching staff.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The basketball world is preparing for a wave of new COVID-19 cases as the omicron variant continues to grow across North American metropolitan areas. On Monday, the Toronto Raptors themselves begun preparations for the wave by cancelling team practices. Players instead have been encouraged to train with individuals of the coaching staff.

Josh Lewenberg reports that the team cancelled yesterday’s practice as well, indicating a seemingly well prepared front office in lieu of the encroaching virus threat.

In addition to the incoming threat, Tim Bontemps of ESPN reported that starting guard Gary Trent Jr. has officially entered health and safety protocols due to possible exposure to the virus, joining Pascal Siakam and Dalano Banton.

Monday’s Orlando Magic matchup has been postponed due to the Magic’s recent COVID outbreak and there has been no set date of when that game will eventually be played. This news comes just four days after the Raptors/Bulls game was similarly postponed with no definite set date as of today.

As of this afternoon, the NBA has reported 70 players in health and safety protocol — glib terminology in light of a deadly virus outbreak. What consequences the sudden spike in cases will have on the NBA’s famous Christmas Day game marathon remains to be seen, however Raptors HQ vet Jay Rosales has covered his opinion and the facts surrounding this outbreak extensively.

Whether we see a temporary pause in league play until the cold and virus season subsides, or the league trucks on, allowing teams to sign additional players through the hardship exception remains to be seen.