ESPN announcers and reporters absent for Dubs-Celtics Game 1

Big chunks of ESPN’s coverage team are out for at least Game 1 of the NBA Finals, which begins Thursday night in San Francisco.

Analyst Jeff Van Gundy, who called Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals when clearly not survey like him, has COVID and is out for Thursday night’s Warriors-Celtics game. An ESPN spokesperson said Van Gundy hopes to return for Game 2, which takes place on Sunday night.

The news that Van Gundy and Adrian Wojnarowski are dating with COVID was first reported by the New York Post. ESPN confirmed to SFGATE that the Post’s report was accurate.

(Update: Van Gundy told The New York Times he did not have the virus, returning inconclusive and negative tests after experiencing symptoms. He claimed not to know why ESPN removed him from Game 1.)

Van Gundy’s regular partner Mike Breen missed Celtics-Heat Game 7 with his own COVID case, and will also be missed Game 1 of the final. Former Dubs head coach Mark Jackson is the last man standing and will be joined by Mark Jones on Thursday night. Jones also replaced Breen in Miami.

Woj, the veteran scoophound, is not in San Francisco but “expects to be in Boston” when the series moves there next week, ESPN said.

Kendra Andrews is also absent from the arena after testing positive, according to ESPN. Wojnarowski and Andrews continued to tweet their scoops relentlessly.

Breen was going through company protocols Thursday morning and hoped to be able to return Thursday evening, according to multiple reports. Game 2 will take place on Sunday in San Francisco.

Although case rates have skyrocketed in the Bay Area in recent weeks, the virus is unlikely to keep players off the field. Vaccinated players are only tested at their request. Every Warriors player is vaccinated, and it looks like at least the vast majority of Celtics players are as well.

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