NBA dealing with COVID-related referee shortage as playoffs near
McCutchen, who worked as an NBA referee for 24 years, said the league has offered health services and assistance for officials to be more easily vaccinated given their travel schedule. While he doesn't have figures on how many officials have had at least one dose of a vaccine, McCutchen said the "vaccination program is in full force right now." 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, a league official told ESPN. That figure represents the highest of its kind to date in a season during which 24 referees have missed at least one game because of health and safety protocols, a league spokesman told ESPN. Most of the absences have been tied to contact tracing, according to the spokesperson, who added that the league expects all 10 of the referees currently sidelined to be available for the playoffs, which start in less than a month.