The NBA indefinitely suspended operations on March 11 after one player contracted the coronavirus. Three months later, with the league nearing a return in Orlando, Fla., NBA teams are preparing for far more players to test positive for COVID-19.
On Tuesday, the NBA will start testing players for COVID-19 as part of the league’s ramp-up schedule toward a return. While some clubs already took part in antibody testing, they are expecting to see a lot of players now test positive for the coronavirus.
In fact, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, one NBA playoff team has already seen four of its players contract the coronavirus in recent weeks.
As coronavirus testing for players heading to Orlando starts today, teams are bracing for significant numbers of positive tests. One Western Conference playoff team had four positives in past few weeks, per sources. Full training camps start on July 11 at Disney.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2020
All of this comes at a time when the league has been slowly welcoming team personnel back to practice facilities. Starting on Tuesday, 10 coaches and four players can be in the building simultaneously and more players will be brought in on July 1.
After the NBA suspended play in March, several players later tested positive for the coronavirus. Among them Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, two Los Angeles Lakers’ players, Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant and three teammates.
The NBA’s return-to-play plan won’t stop due to multiple positive COVID-19 tests and has received support from Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Once a player tests positive for the coronavirus, they must enter a minimum seven-day quarantine and the NBA Players Association will conduct daily testing. One thing is clear, the NBA is determined to play out the season. But as the COVID-19 pandemic has proven, things can change quickly.