Restart Notes: Medical Reviews, Announcers, More

The NBA is expected to ask team personnel members to submit their personal medical histories to a panel of physicians in advance of this summer’s resumption in Orlando, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe.

As Wojnarowski and Lowe explain, that panel would assess each individual’s level of risk for serious health complications due to the coronavirus. If certain individuals are deemed to be “more vulnerable to severe coronavirus outcomes,” the panel may recommend that they don’t travel to Orlando.

Wojnarowski and Lowe caution that the NBA and its panel likely won’t have the authority to prohibit anyone outright from participating in the resumption of the season in Orlando based on potential health risks. Legal experts tell ESPN that the league also wouldn’t be able to exclude anyone based solely on that person’s age, including head coaches Gregg Popovich (Spurs), Mike D’Antoni (Rockets), and Alvin Gentry (Pelicans), all of whom are at least 65 years old.

Still, as Woj and Lowe write, it’s possible that the NBA’s medical review process could result in a recommendation that the league and an individual’s team strongly encourages them to follow. The NBA also could place certain limitations on those deemed to be at higher risk, a possibility that is causing some “anxiety” among teams, sources tell ESPN.

As we wait to see what measures the league takes in an attempt to keep its players, coaches, and other staffers as safe as possible, let’s round up a few more notes on the NBA’s restart…

  • It sounds like play-to-play announcers and color commentators will call games remotely when play resumes this summer. TNT’s Kevin Harlan said as much during a SiriusXM NBA Radio interview, as Richard Deitsch of The Athletic relays. “What I’ve heard from the folks at TNT is we will be in the studios in Atlanta and they will set up as close to possible a broadcast table like we would have courtside,” Harlan said. “We will have, I’m assuming, crowd noise pumped into our headsets. I think for the viewer, I don’t think it’s going to seem dramatically different.” Harlan added that it’s possible broadcasters could be brought to Orlando late in the postseason.
  • Appearing on ESPN’s First Take (video link), Brian Windhorst describes some of the challenges that players will face living in the Orlando bubble and explores how drug testing will work.
  • Although all eight teams not invited to Orlando this summer agree that they’d like to be able to conduct some form of offseason activities with their players, those teams aren’t necessarily in lockstep about what that should look like, and there are plenty of logistical hurdles to work through, writes Mark Medina of USA Today.
View Comments (6)