Defenceman Morgan Rielly the latest Maple Leaf to enter COVID-19 protocol

  • Maple Leafs’ Rielly, Jets’ Copp and Vesalainen enter virus protocol
  • Raptors sign 3 replacement players
  • More Premier League matches called off

Leafs, Jets players and staff into protocol

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Thursday defenceman Morgan Rielly and a staff member have been placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, while two Winnipeg Jets and a team employee have also been added to the growing list.

The Leafs now have a total of 12 players ā€” including captain John Tavares and goaltender Jack Campbell ā€” in isolation along with head coach Sheldon Keefe, two assistants, and four other members of the organization.

The Jets said forwards Andrew Copp and Kristian Vesalainen have entered the protocol along with a member of the club’s support staff. Those additions mean all seven Canadian teams currently have players sidelined due to the coronavirus.

The NHL shut down for its annual Christmas break 48 hours early after Tuesday night’s lone remaining game.

Four contests originally scheduled for Wednesday and 15 for Thursday are among the 45 postponed since Dec. 13 due to pandemic-related concerns.

The league is scheduled to resume play with 14 games Monday, including Toronto at Columbus and Minnesota at Winnipeg, although more postponements are possible with a number of clubs dealing with multiple COVID-19 cases.

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Raptors fill out COVID-depleted roster

The depleted Toronto Raptors have signed forwards Juwan Morgan and D.J. Wilson and guard Tremont Waters to 10-day contracts.

The players join the Raptors from the NBA G League via the COVID hardship exception.

The moves come after Toronto’s game at Chicago scheduled for Wednesday night was postponed by the NBA when the Raptors couldn’t field the league-minimum eight players.

Eight Raptors, including starters OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr., are in the NBA’s COVID-19 protocol.

Malachi Flynn, Precious Achiuwa and Dalano Banton are also unavailable due to COVID-19 concerns.

Players in the league’s protocol have not necessarily tested positive for COVID-19.

Additionally, centre Khem Birch is out with knee swelling, while Justin Champagnie is unavailable with what the team calls a non-COVID-related illness and David Johnson is out with a calf injury.

The Raptors are scheduled to play at Cleveland on Dec. 26.

The six-foot-seven, 232-pound Morgan is averaging 12.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 29.3 minutes in 13 games with the Maine Celtics.

Wilson, six-foot-10 and 231 pounds, is averaging 14.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 26.1 minutes over 14 games with the Oklahoma City Blue.

Waters, listed at five-foot-10 and 175 pounds, is averaging 17.5 points, 6.2 assists, 2.7 steals and 31.9 minutes in 13 contests with the Wisconsin Herd.

Premier League Boxing Day matches postponed

Coronavirus outbreaks at Leeds and Watford have led to two Premier League matches scheduled for Sunday being postponed in the latest disruption to the competition caused by cases rising in squads.

Leeds was due to travel to Liverpool and Watford was set to play at Wolverhampton as part of the Boxing Day program that still features seven games.

The Premier League has now called off 12 matches due to coronavirus issues in two weeks, with players having to isolate after testing positive or if they are unvaccinated and a close contact of a COVID-19 case.

“The league is aware that the decision to postpone these two matches will disappoint supporters and understands their frustrations at a special time of year when fans look forward to attending and watching football games,” the Premier League said in a statement on Thursday.

Games are also being wiped out lower down the leagues, with six of Sunday’s 10 matches in the second-tier Championship postponed.

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