I have entered the health and safety protocols
I'm out for Pacers-Hornets on Wednesday after recording a positive COVID-19 test.
I have entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols. That’s not a sentence I expected to write, but like everything these past two years, nothing is going to plan.
That’s why I did not attend Pacers practice on Tuesday — a rarity for me — and why I won’t be at the game Wednesday night against the Charlotte Hornets. I’m right downtown, just a 3-wood from The Fieldhouse, but I’ll stay away and watch from home.
Scott Agness — Out (Health and Safety Protocols)
Because I ask these questions of coaches and players, it’s only fair that I answer them myself.
I am fully vaccinated and received my booster shot just before Christmas, on Dec. 19. Looking back, I wish I had gotten it a few weeks earlier so I had a full two weeks, as suggested, before spending Christmas with family.
My symptoms are mild, similar to a head cold. It started with a sore throat and I have an occasional cough. Fatigue has been the number one thing. No matter how much sleep I get, I never feel restful. Earlier in the week, I remember having four coffees in one day and still not having my usual energy.
What led to a test?
A family member got tested after he was exposed by colleague at work, and his came back positive at the beginning of this week. I also had a very close friend test positive. Local rapid and PCR tests are unavailable — all reservations are completely booked — in Central Indiana so I took an at-home test Monday evening after learning of potential exposure.
It was negative. But I’m skeptical about the reliability of these tests, especially with regard to the Omicron variant — which NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said “is beyond dominate in the league right now” last week.
So I stayed home all day Tuesday and then didn’t just wait the suggested 24 or 36 hours, but almost two days to test again. Doing so around noon on Wednesday — Pacers game day — the same at-home test came back positive.
For the last few days, I haven’t felt like myself and had what I would describe as a typical head cold. Plus, a couple others I had been around tested positive. All of those factors were against me.
I’m grateful I have the vaccine. I’m grateful to have had a few at-home rapid tests, which are sold out everywhere at the moment. Seriously, I looked to order more and I couldn’t find any. Thankfully, I had the foresight to order several in November … just in case, ya know.
Well now I wish I had ordered more, for me and others.
It’s not just the NBA community that’s been affected. Last week, Colts All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson and Defensive Player of the Year nominee Darius Leonard missed a game. And now quarterback Carson Wentz has been added to the COVID-19 list.
IU had men’s and women’s basketball games canceled, the IUPUI men’s basketball team had a game canceled — one that I was scheduled to broadcast — and the Purdue’s men’s team issued a press release Wednesday to say they are 100-percent vaccinated and boosted.
Meanwhile, the Hawks have 13 players in the health and safety protocols and the Bulls have had all but three players (17 total) enter the protocols this season. Wild.
And despite that, and being without head coach Billy Donovan as well, the Bulls beat the Pacers on Sunday.
Just before Christmas, after their home win over the Houston Rockets, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle was asked about his coaching staff not being at full strength for more than three weeks.
“It’s not easy, it’s not easy at all,” he said. “That’s why Zoom has become a very good medium for meeting and doing things. Hey, if you guys (reporters in the room) all go and get a test right now, I guarantee at least two or three of you are positive. That’s the world we’re living in right now. I came off of 10 days (in quarantine) feeling great with no symptoms, Jenny Boucek came off of 12 or 13 days because they had some snafus with samples and stuff.
“Everybody is adjusting to a new set of normal circumstances and I don’t think we have any choice but to go with the flow. As the rules and provisions have to change, we have to change with them.”
Now one day after the CDC updated their guidance, the NBA is following their lead.
Work wise, I can still do almost everything from home; I just need a phone and a computer. Obviously, I miss out on valuable information, experiences and observations that come from game night, like talking with people around the team and watching players on the court during their individual workouts.
It’s tough and bothers me to miss a practice or game. I take great pride in always being present.
But this will pass.