Erik Spoelstra slams NBA’s COVID-19 protocols after Miami Heat lose Caleb Martin'
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Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra called into question the NBA’s health and safety protocols after Miami was forced to play without forward Caleb Martin against the Chicago Bulls.

“I think we all have to figure this out right now,” Spoelstra said with so many other NBA teams also facing similar absences. “Are players missing games because they’re symptomatic? Or are they asymptomatic? Has everybody gotten their shots and their boosters? Why would they be held out extensively longer than if they have the flu?

“I think there’s a contradiction there and if you just go hunting for, and add more testing and try to find things, you probably will.”

Martin, who scored 28 points in Miami’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks, was placed in the league’s health and safety protocols despite feeling healthy because he tested positive for COVID-19.

“He was frustrated,” Spoelstra said of Martin. “Come on, the guy came off the best game of his career as a professional athlete. He was preparing for [Saturday’s] game to play. And he felt like he could play. I understand his frustration. I feel for him. These are extraordinary times. They’re not like normal times from two years ago.

“But having asymptomatic players sitting out. I don’t know if that’s the answer or for losing extended periods of time, two weeks or 10 days, without any course of recourse to that.”

Obviously, the NBA is trying to limit the spread of the virus by taking players who are positive for COVID-19 away from their respective teams, but it certainly makes it tough on the team to play without them.

Martin has been a pleasant surprise for the Heat this season, as he is averaging 7.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game while shooting 48.9 percent from the field.

The Heat will likely be without Martin when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.