Now that NBA personnel have experienced a few days in the campus environment at Walt Disney World, two of the league’s biggest names spoke out Saturday in support of what the league has accomplished, writes Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.
“They took all precautionary reasons, measures to make sure that we as a league are as safe as we can be,” said Lakers star LeBron James. “Obviously, in anything that you do, there can be things that could happen, but we will cross that line if it happens.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, the elder statesman among NBA coaches at age 71, who risks exposing himself to a virus that the Centers for Disease Control warns is particularly dangerous for older people. But Popovich didn’t hesitate to make the trip to Orlando and was leading the Spurs through practice Saturday for the first time in four months.
“If this bubble works, I’m safer here than I would be in Texas,” he said, noting the rise in COVID-19 cases in that state. “And since the decision was made to do this to start the season again, under these circumstances, with all the precautions, what a great opportunity.”
There’s more this morning relating to the restart:
- As sports leagues return to action, there are renewed concerns that they will be using a large number of coronavirus tests and other resources needed by the medical community, according to Gabe Lacques, Tom Schad and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. The NBA, MLB and MLS are projected to go through a combined 19,000 tests per week. “If you have every single player on a team wanting to be tested — even if it’s once a week or twice a week — that’s just a huge strain on the system,” said Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at New York University and Bellevue Hospital.
- In addition to the immediate risks for any player who contracts the virus, there are worries about long-term heart issues, notes Baxter Holmes of ESPN. Players who test positive are required to undergo a cardiac screening before being cleared to return to action. Doctors fear that cardiac damage can increase if players try to continue training while they’re infected.
- In a look at how the virus might affect the 2020/21 season, Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps of ESPN suggest the financial strain may make teams less willing to part with coaches who are under contract.