Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders has daily NBA memos that remind him to keep his mask on while he's coaching on the sideline. Still, there are times the mask comes down for Saunders to yell out a call.
If the memos don't do the trick, Saunders has another reminder when he comes home — his wife, Hayley.
"My wife let me know that last game I was pulling it down more than I had in the past," Saunders said before Wednesday's game against Memphis. "I'll try to be a little more careful [Wednesday]."
The Wolves are adapting to the new stringent guidelines the NBA has laid out for its teams after several positive tests have forced postponed games and depleted rosters because of contact tracing.
The league is cracking down on not wearing masks on the sidelines for all players and coaches and put limitations on team meetings before games. Pregame meetings in locker rooms are also restricted to less than 10 minutes or should be held on the court or in a large room to accommodate six feet of spacing between individuals.
Saunders said the Wolves already had such a plan in place.
"We haven't used our film room this year," Saunders said. "We have a projector that we use in our practice facility on the court where people can spread out where there's better air flow as well that we just project onto the wall."
Saunders also added that the coaches have all their meetings via Zoom.
"Everyone is over Zoom just for the reason of contact tracing and being in close, confined areas," Saunders said. "We want to be safe and try to eliminate any possible reasons for us to maybe have a slip-up."
So far the Wolves haven't had any positive tests among players during the season nor has any player had to isolate. The league announced that since Jan. 6, 16 players have tested positive.
The league has also mandated new regulations on how players spend their time away from the court. They can no longer leave their hotels on the road for anything not related to team activities, while the same applies to home. Any guests they have regularly in their homes must be tested at least twice per week.
"We always need to make changes, be ready to adjust just because we see what COVID-19 is doing to our world and society," Saunders said. "As the league continues to evolve and evaluate what protocols we have, you can feel safe at times, but you also can't let your guard down. We've tried to continue to reassure these guys that that is the mind-set we have to have because, like anything, things can change drastically one way or another very quickly."
• Josh Okogie and Karl-Anthony Towns were both listed as questionable entering Wednesday night but both suited up and played. Saunders had said leading into the game he expected both would play. Towns played Saturday but sat out Sunday as he works his way back from a left wrist dislocation while Okogie returned Sunday after sitting out six games because of a left hamstring strain. The Wolves started Okogie, Towns, D'Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez.
• Jake Layman did not play Sunday against San Antonio, with Saunders saying he did have a conversation with Layman before the game about sitting out. "He'll get another opportunity at some point," Saunders said.