Covid-19 Is Wreaking Havoc Across The NBA, NHL And NFL; Here’s Every Player Out

For nearly two years, the major sports leagues in North America have scrambled to get games in under the weight of Covid-19. Even under detailed protocols, the virus has made its way into the players and staff, altering schedules and travel for teams.

As the highly contagious Omicron variant enters the mix with the Delta variant still very much in play, the three active sports leagues are seeing sudden outbreaks that have had them reassessing protocols and how to somehow get their seasons in.

As of Dec 17 — between the NFL, NBA, and NHL – a total of 266 players had entered Covid protocols. The vast majority of these players (142) are within the NFL with the NBA and NHL each seeing 62 players out of active play.

On Thursday the NFL updated their Covid-19 protocols to allow players to return more quickly to play.

“Effective immediately, all clubs will implement preventative measures that have proven effective: masking regardless of vaccination status, remote or outdoor meetings, eliminating in-person meals, and no outside visitors while on team travel,” the NFL said in a statement. “We will continue to strongly encourage the booster shots as the most effective protection. Finally, and based on expert advice, we will adjust the return-to-participation requirements for those who have recovered from COVID-19.


“All of these changes are grounded in our data and science-backed approach, with safety our number-one goal for the entire NFL community.”

As part of this change, the NFL is allowing players to “test out”. The system will see the “NFL provided three testing options for a fully vaccinated individual to return provided he or she is asymptomatic for at least 24 hours.”

Ahead of the Holiday games that the NBA has showcased each year, the league set into motion updated protocols that will see additional testing and mask usage. In a memo obtained by ESPN, the mask policy would remain in effect “until agreed otherwise by the NBA and Players Association.”

Earlier this week, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to implement protocol changes that were in place for all of last season. According to a report on ESPN, all “players will be tested daily instead of every third day.” In addition “all team personnel will be required to wear face masks at facilities, meetings will be held virtually, and everyone will be asked to limit all social interactions outside of the hotel, rink or home.”

At least for now, not all clubs are affected the same. In the NFL, the Jaguars, Raiders, Saints, 49ers, and Buccaneers see no players out under Covid-19 protocols. But others see rosters depleted. Not counting practice rosters, the Los Angeles Rams sees 26 players out with Covid-19 followed by the Cleveland Browns and Washington Football Team each with 21.

In the NBA the Chicago Bulls currently see ten players out making them the only club in double-digits. More than half the league (16) sees one or more players out due to Covid-19.

The NHL is skewed even further. While most clubs see a handful of players based on the Covid protocol, the Calgary Flames see 19 players out or 31% of the total. That count does not include coach Darryl Sutter, who has also contracted the virus. With the club so decimated, the team’s season has been placed on hold till at least Dec 18.

With Covid-19 spreading so quickly, it may affect the NHL allowing players to be part of the Winter Olympics. The deadline for the NHL to withdraw from the games is Jan 10.

As for the NFL, game scheduling has become chaotic. The Raiders game against the Browns has been moved to Monday. Two match-ups have now moved to Tuesday: the Seahawks vs the Rams will play at 4pm PT/7pm ET, and for the first time an NFL game will air in primetime on a Tuesday when the WFT faces the Philadelphia Eagles at 7pm ET.

So, who are the players in each league, their club, and when did they go on into the Covid protocol? Based on numbers as of 12/17, here are the players in the NFL, NHL, and NBA based on numerous reports.

Tables may contain multiple pages

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