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Virus Postpones Games For Oklahoma College, Pro Basketball Teams

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University of Oklahoma Athletics
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STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma at Oklahoma State Big 12 basketball game scheduled for Saturday was postponed because of a positive COVID-19 test within the OSU program, according to Oklahoma State officials.

The Cowboys have paused team activities indefinitely and the two schools will work with the Big 12 to reschedule the game that was to tip off at 7 p.m. at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, OSU officials said.

“The well-being of the young men in our program has always been and will continue to be the most important thing to me, my staff and our administration,” Oklahoma State head coach Mike Boynton said in a statement.

“We’ve been very fortunate to play the games we’ve played thus far, and we will await the advice of our medical staff before making any decisions on a return to team activities.”

The NBA said the Philadelphia at Oklahoma City game, scheduled for Sunday night, could not be played because the 76ers did not “have the league-required eight available players to proceed” because of contact tracing.

It was the 13th game called off since Jan. 10 because of virus issues, a span in which the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have stiffened protocols and even added testing with hopes of keeping the season going without much in the way of additional problems.

“Nobody is complaining,” Detroit coach Dwane Casey said. “It’s different. We have to go with the flow. We trust and believe in the NBA, that they’re doing what’s right for us and our families.”

That 76ers-Thunder determination was made about 90 minutes before the planned start time. The 76ers played in Memphis on Saturday night, losing 106-104 in a game where Valanciunas played 20 minutes.

The Grizzlies said he would be unable to play Monday against Phoenix because of the league’s protocols — which could mean many different things including a positive test, an inconclusive test or possible exposure to someone who is positive for COVID-19.

It is the second time this month that the protocols have flagged Valanciunas. He was pulled at halftime of Memphis’ game against Brooklyn on Jan. 8 because of some sort of virus-related issue, but was back on the court for the Grizzlies’ next game Jan. 11 against Cleveland.

“False alarm. Everyone around me is healthy and I am cleared to get back on the court,” Valanciunas wrote on Instagram last week.

Phoenix’s game in Memphis on Monday is scheduled to be the Suns’ first game in a week. The Suns said they would be missing three players for virus-related issues, but the team has not said if that’s because of contact tracing or positive tests.

“There was a lot that happened this week, so much out of our control,” Suns coach Monty Williams said Sunday. “We understood what the league was trying to do as far as keeping everybody safe. It’s just a different world we live in.”

Minnesota, which had a game Friday called off after Karl-Anthony Towns revealed he tested positive, is scheduled to play Monday in Atlanta. Ricky Rubio has also been ruled out by the Timberwolves for virus-related reasons.

The Wolves didn’t take off for Atlanta on Sunday until after 7 p.m. EST, several hours behind schedule, presumably for tests to be processed and ensure that Minnesota would have enough players able to take the floor.

Sunday’s postponement is the first for Philadelphia and Oklahoma City since this latest wave of virus issues in the NBA started earlier this month, and raised the total to 18 teams who have seen at least one game called off since Jan. 10. The Thunder also had a game in Houston called off Dec. 23 because the Rockets did not have enough players eligible to play, in large part because of contact tracing issues.

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