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NBA is dealing with referee shortage as playoffs near

Ten NBA referees, including veteran officials typically assigned to the NBA Finals, are sidelined because of issues related to COVID-19 and, in one case, an injury. That figure represents the highest of its kind to date in a season amid which 24 referees have missed at least one game since of health and safety protocols.

Most of the absences have been tied to contact tracing, according to the representative. He included that the league anticipates all 10 of the referees currently sidelined to be available for the playoffs, which will begin in less than a month.

Whereas teams travel through charter flight, referees fly commercially, exposing them to more people who might be carrying COVID-19. The referee absences have constrained the league into more occurrences of two-person referee crews than in seasons past.

These absences also have led to six lower-level referees from the G League to work more NBA games this season than expected. Their officiating has become a hot-button issue for a few team executives who say the quality of their administering has negatively influenced games.

Source: ESPN

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