Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul has been ruled out for Game 1 due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the official injury report stated Saturday.
“Based on the information and based on the history of this particular protocol, everything’s day-to-day,” head coach Monty Williams said of the situation on Saturday.
Paul was placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols as of Wednesday and tested positive for COVID-19, according to Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro. The point guard caught the virus despite taking the Pfizer vaccine in February, Gambadoro adds.
Although Paul reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated, such breakthrough infections are extremely rare in Arizona.
Only around 2,000 COVID-19 cases have been documented among the approximately 3 million people fully vaccinated in the state, the Arizona Department of Health Services told KTAR News 92.3 FM in an email Monday.
Will Humble, executive director for the Arizona Public Health Association and former ADHS director, told KTAR News on Tuesday the vaccines are performing better than advertised.
“That’s like 99-point-something percent effective,” he said. “The real-world experience has even been better than that 95% number that we’ve heard about so much from the clinical trials.”
ADHS tweeted Wednesday that 16,910 total cases of COVID-19 were documented in May, with 95.4% of the individuals not fully vaccinated.
The Suns surely hoped Paul’s vaccinated status would help him return relatively quickly.
By the NBA’s protocols, vaccinated players must either wait 10 days after testing positive and show no symptoms for at least 24 hours or — the more likely option for a vaccinated player — receive two back-to-back PCR tests at least 24 hours apart. There are also cardiac tests involved in being cleared.
University of Arizona associate professor and Dr. Shad Marvasti told Burns & Gambo on Wednesday that the outlook for Paul was positive, adding that there was little risk in him infecting teammates because he was vaccinated.
“They’re probably going to be OK,” Marvasti said. “If they’re fully vaccinated, even more OK. If everybody is fully vaccinated then it’s really not a big deal.”
It is not known when Paul tested positive, but he last played Sunday to close out the Denver Nuggets with a four-game sweep. The Suns then took Monday off and went through practices as usual starting on Tuesday.
“We’re just gonna do the next right thing, and that’s focus on the next practice, the next film session — I just left our gym, the spirit was unreal,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said Wednesday. “Our guys understand that we’ve dealt with stuff this year, other teams have dealt with it, it’s just part of the NBA.”