NEW YORK (AP) – The NBA said Wednesday that 48 players have tested positive for the coronavirus since testing resumed last week.
The league and National Basketball Players Association said 546 players were tested between Nov. 24-30 in the initial phase of testing after returning to team markets. That means about 9% of the tests were positive.
Any player with a confirmed positive test is isolated until cleared by rules established by the league and union, in accordance with CDC guidance. The league’s health and safety protocols for this season say that anyone with a positive test in this pre-camp phase “must receive medical clearance from a team-designated physician and a league-designated physician prior to entering a team facility, participating in in-person team-organized activities, or interacting in-person with other” members of their team.
The league, in its preseason guidance to teams sent late last week, made clear that some players testing positive was to be expected.
“During this pandemic, all this stuff is going to be different this season,” Dallas All-Star Luka Doncic said Tuesday. “Some players might get corona, get sick, not be able to be with the team for 10 days. So, I think that’s going to be a big part – which team is not going to have positive people. It’s going to be a lot of time together. I think that’s going to be key.”
Players needed three negative PCR tests between Nov. 24-30 before they could be cleared to start individual workouts, which will last throughout this week. A handful of teams are expected to be cleared to start group sessions or 5-on-5 practices Friday, most others on Sunday and Golden State will on Monday.
Anyone with a confirmed positive test will also need to successfully complete a cardiac exam before being able to return to play. It’s a possibility that some of the 48 positive players would not be cleared before the NBA’s preseason schedule starts Dec. 11. The regular season begins on Dec. 22.
“I’m confident that the league is going to do everything in their power to do things the right way and to protect us, protect the players and the staffs. Then, who the hell knows?” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday, prior to the Warriors revealing that two players had positive tests. “I mean, it’s 2020. I think we just have to go into it with an open mind and do our best and see what happens.”
The NBA had no players test positive once they entered the bubble at Walt Disney World for the season restart near Orlando, Florida last July. A very small number of individuals tested positive after arriving at Disney but before they were released from quarantine and into the bubble, a sign that the NBA pointed to as proof that its system worked.
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