The Indiana Pacers have an edge amidst a league-wide COVID-19 outbreak

Indiana Pacers, Justin Holiday - Credit: Carmen Mandato/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, Justin Holiday - Credit: Carmen Mandato/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports /

The NBA has been rummaged by a surge in COVID-19 cases recently, with a bunch of players from various teams entering health and safety protocols by the daily. Fortunately, the Indiana Pacers have managed to dodge the bullet for the large part, staying relatively clear from the outbreak (no jinx intended).

Head coach Rick Carlisle, who missed the previous four contests after testing positive, has recently gotten back to practice and should be good to go against Miami. Justin Holiday, who was the first among the team to enter protocols, has already played a couple of games since. Among all reported cases, Indiana only has assistant coach Jenny Boucek shelved due to the virus.

The Indiana Pacers should have a rare advantage with a COVID-free roster so far

No one wants to wish something ill to anyone, but given the expansive effect of the virus to most teams, the Indiana Pacers could be slated to trot out a healthier team on a nightly basis. As they attempt to improve their measly record, every edge that they can get is important.

As teams and the league resort to patchwork solutions to avoid postponing games outright, new rules have been laid down on the interim to help teams tread through the wave of players entering health and safety protocols. From hardship exceptions, expansion of rosters, and tweaked rules for two-way players, it’s clear that the NBA will do whatever it takes to avoid disruption of play.

The instability caused by the revolving door of players coming in and out due to protocols could have a big effect on the standings. The Pacers, with their healthy bodies (note: relatively), should have a headstart against teams derailed by the outbreak. Four of their next six games will come against teams that either hit hard by the virus (Cleveland and two games vs Chicago) or simply plagued by injuries (Miami).

As the Indiana Pacers enter their subsequent contests with perhaps more stability personnel-wise, they should make it a point to claim as many wins as they can, especially with health and safety protocols affecting their opponents’ chances. The team has struggled no matter the opposing team so far, but as the opportunity presents itself, they should strike the iron while it’s still hot.

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