University of Arizona associate professor and Dr. Shad Marvasti grew up a Phoenix Suns fan. It began for him with the Dan Majerle era, and the interest remained as the Suns fell short multiple times during the Seven Seconds or Less generation of teams.
So when he, like many others, learned on Wednesday that Suns point guard Chris Paul was placed under the health and safety protocols as Phoenix awaits its Western Conference Finals opponent, Marvasti hoped for one thing.
“My first reaction was I hope he’s fully vaccinated, because if he’s fully vaccinated, it’s likely not to be a big deal,” Marvasti told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Wednesday.
Paul indeed is vaccinated, according to Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro.
Marvasti, who specializes in public health and prevention at the UA’s College of Medicine in Phoenix, said the outlook for Paul returning to the team is relatively positive considering the position Phoenix is in.
By the NBA’s protocols, Paul must either wait 10 days after testing positive and show no symptoms for at least 24 hours or — the more likely option — receive two back-to-back PCR tests at least 24 hours apart. There are also cardiac tests he must pass.
That could potentially get Paul back for a Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. When that game is, however, remains up in the air as the Suns’ next opponent is to-be determined.
The Los Angeles Clippers, without Kawhi Leonard, dropped the Utah Jazz on Wednesday to take a 3-2 series lead back to Staples Center. If the Jazz win Game 6 to push the conference semifinals series its full length, Phoenix would not play until Tuesday.
If the Clippers win Friday, then Phoenix will host Game 1 of the conference finals on Sunday.
The Suns said they will update Paul’s status on Saturday.
Marvasti says it’s quite possible the point guard misses only one game — maybe none depending on the timing.
“I would say most likely Game 2 if not Game 1 if everything goes well and he’s been vaccinated. In most cases, people who have been vaccinated, they have no symptoms even if they test positive and it’s a formality,” Marvasti said.
Of course, everyone reacts differently to the virus. But Marvasti said that a pro athlete in good shape who is vaccinated should fight off the virus relatively quickly.
The doctor added that 93% of people who get COVID-19 after getting vaccinated don’t show symptoms or only very mild ones. He added that Paul being vaccinated would greatly decrease the chances his teammates get the virus and test positive, leaving the Suns with even more personnel holes.
“They’re probably going to be OK,” Marvasti said. “If they’re fully vaccinated, even more OK. If everybody is fully vaccinated then it’s really not a big deal.”