The league keeps moving forward, positive tests keep coming back, and another member of the Milwaukee Bucks will be kept away from the team for some time. This time around, it’s Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the elder brother of Giannis and team spark plug, who will go from the bench and into isolation.
#Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo has entered the league’s health & safety protocol.— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) January 1, 2022
Because Thanasis is not a crucial part of the Bucks’ rotation, it would be easy to let this news pass by without another mention. But in this case, it creates a curious pair of data points because Thanasis also previously entered the protocols in July, right before Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Finals. It might have been the conclusion of the previous season, but that’s still less than six months ago. That means it’s entirely possible for a player who has tested positive and goes into the league’s protocols can do so again in a relatively short amount of time.
Why does that matter? So what if Thanasis has to be away from the team, especially after the NBA reduced the amount of time necessary (from 10 days to 6 if asymptomatic and able to produce negative tests) to exit the protocols? For one thing, it demonstrates the timeline of re-infection, which even if vaccinated can result in spreading the virus to others. That’s how we got here in the first place; even if vaccination rates are rising and effective treatments are continuing to come available, more positive cases means more people getting sick, which leads to more people getting sick, and on and on and on we go through the madness. But the league (and most of society, if we’re being honest) has made it clear that stopping COVID isn’t really the priority, so we will have to make do.
Draw whatever conclusions from that as you will, the basketball consequences of this are pretty obvious. If Thanasis can go into the protocols twice in a six-month period, so can anyone else. We recall how rough it was when Giannis was away from the team in December, what if it happens again in May or June?
Editor’s Note: I am not currently in a position to pore through the latest research or published studies about the state of the pandemic, so I don’t know what is or isn’t possible, or advisable, or accurate in terms of the collective effort to withstand COVID-19. If you insist on heading down this road in the comments, please vet your own sources and cite them in anything you post.
Then again, we can’t live life exclusively ruled by “what if?” so again, we have to make do with the circumstances we’re in, even if they’re circumstances of our own creation. So do everything in your power to control what you can control, take steps to protect yourself and your community, get the vaccine if you’re able, and wear the mask. You’ll be wearing it anytime you head to Fiserv Forum anytime soon.