One element of the NBA’s coronavirus woes has largely gone unnoticed until now: referees. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, over a third of NBA referees are currently in quarantine.
As the Omicron variant rips through NBA players and coaches, it has reached a season-high among game officials: 36% of the league’s referees are in COVID-19 protocols, sources told ESPN on Thursday.
With 25 of the league’s 70 active referees currently in quarantine, the league’s been promoting G League referees to fill out the nightly roster of games, sources said.
Wojnarowski reports that the league has had games where only two referees were available to officiate, though the availability of G League officials following the pause of their season should help. Additionally, all of the NBA’s referees are vaccinated.
NBA referees are 100% vaccinated and are required to be fully boosted prior to Wednesday, sources said. Only a percentage of refs currently on road-trips haven’t been boosted, but must do by Wednesday.