SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Golden State Warriors star Andrew Wiggins, who generated headlines during his pre-season refusal to receive a NBA mandated vaccination, has entered the league’s COVID protocol and could be sidelined until Dec. 28th.

Meanwhile, growing fears over COVID in Canada has forced the National Hockey League to cancel San Jose Sharks games scheduled this week with the Vancouver Canucks and the Edmonton Oilers.

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“Due to the concern about cross-border travel and, given the fluid nature of federal travel restrictions, all games involving a Canadian-based team playing a U.S.-based team from Dec. 20 through the start of the Holiday break on Dec. 23, will be postponed and rescheduled,” the league said in a Sunday announcement.

With COVID cases spiking across the NBA, Wiggins will be joining teammate Jordan Poole on the sidelines this week while in the protocol. Poole remained in Boston after Friday night’s game with the Celtics. He tested positive before the game and will need two negative tests before he can rejoin the team.

Wiggins along with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving were the two highest profile players to refuse to honor the NBA’s leaguewide vaccination mandate at the beginning of the season.

At a tension filled pre-season news conference with the local media, Wiggins was defiant and combative when repeatedly questioned about his refusal to get vaccinated.

“(My) back is definitely against the wall,” he said. “But (I’m) just going to keep fighting for what I believe, whether it’s one thing or another, get the vaccination or not get the vaccination, who knows, like I’m just going to keep fighting for what I believe and what I believe is right. What’s right to one person isn’t right to the other, you know, vice versa.”

Wiggins reluctantly complied and he was vaccinated, but it was not known if he had received a booster shot. He has been one of the keys to the Warriors 24-6 record. In Friday night’s 111-107 win over Boston, he scored 27 points, including 24 in the first half.

But apparently, Wiggins still is annoyed about having to get vaccinated. According to ESPN, when asked about it after the Celtics game, he replied: “No, I’m not (happy about being vaccinated), But it is what it is, I guess.”

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Wiggins did travel to his hometown of Toronto, but did not play in Saturday night’s game and it was not known if he returned to the Bay Area with the team.

Meanwhile, Irving continues to refuse and has not played for the NBA Eastern Conference leading Nets yet this season.

On Sunday, the NBA postponed a total of five games involving nine teams in response to rising coronavirus numbers, raising the number of contests that have been pushed back this season to seven.

Called off were three Sunday games: Cleveland at Atlanta, Denver at Brooklyn and New Orleans at Philadelphia. Also shelved were Orlando’s game at Toronto on Monday and Washington’s game at Brooklyn on Tuesday.

The postponements came on the same day that Atlanta announced star guard Trae Young entered the league’s health and safety protocols and the Los Angeles Lakers said coach Frank Vogel also was added to the list.

Leaguewide, through Sunday evening, there were at least 75 players from 20 teams who have either been ruled out to play — or in the case of the postponed games, would have been ruled out — because they are in the protocols. That number has soared in recent days, with the NBA just one of many sports leagues worldwide dealing with a rapidly worsening issue.

According to a memo sent to teams late Sunday night and obtained by The Associated Press, the NBA and union will allow teams to sign a replacement player for each player under contract who is confirmed positive for the virus.

U.S. officials are expecting a wave of breakthrough infections among the vaccinated given the surge of holiday travelers and gatherings expected in the coming days. The NBA has said 97% of players are fully vaccinated and somewhere around 60% had received boosters as of last week. It was not clear how many of the current positive cases involve those who are ineligible for a booster shot or those who have chosen not to receive one.

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© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.