Community Shootaround: NBA Vs. COVID-19

The coronavirus continues to spread throughout the globe, causing the same havoc in the sports world that it does in nearly every other area of life.

The NFL has been forced to postpone games and rearrange its schedule. The Broncos will have to play tomorrow with no active quarterbacks, while the 49ers need to find a temporary home after Santa Clara County banned all contact sports for the next three weeks. College football and basketball also had to scramble after outbreaks.

These aren’t ideal conditions for a new NBA season, but the owners and players understood the risks when they agreed to a December 22 start date. Training camps open Tuesday, with the first exhibition games just 13 days away. Unlike a few months ago, the league won’t have the advantages of a closed campus to minimize COVID-19 dangers. Players will be out among the public, they will travel from city to city and some arenas are making plans to have fans in attendance, although on a limited basis.

To prepare for the challenges ahead, the league distributed a 134-page “Health and Safety Protocol Guide” to all of its teams. It sets regulations that will hopefully limit any disruptions to the upcoming season.

Among the highlights:

  • Players who test positive for the virus must quarantine for at least 10 days after the first positive test or onset of symptoms, or they can submit two negative PCR tests 24 hours apart. Players who are cleared must work out alone for two days before rejoining their teammates. A hotline will be set up to report safety and protocol violations, just as it was in Orlando.
  • The start of training camp will be limited to individual workouts with a maximum of four players and four staff members at a time. All participants need three negative PCR tests before being cleared and must start quarantining today if they plan to begin Tuesday. Full team practices won’t start until Friday.
  • All teams must employ an infectious disease specialist, infection control specialist, rapid testing coordinator, testing officer, testing manager and contact tracing officer, two contact tracers and team protocol enforcement officer. Requirements also include two face mask enforcement officers, a player liaison, facility hygiene officer, arena health and hygiene manager, health education and awareness officer and travel safety officer. No more than 45 people will be permitted in a traveling party.
  • No criteria have been set for what would result in the season being suspended. Like the NFL and Major League Baseball, the NBA will make that determination based on the way events unfold.

We want to get your opinion. Under the circumstances, do you believe the NBA will be able to complete its 72-game schedule and its entire 20-team playoffs? Or will the league eventually have to switch to a “bubble” environment to save the season? Please leave your answers in the comments section.

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21 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: NBA Vs. COVID-19

  1. PapiElf

    I certainly hope they can, but being realistic, I’m pretty doubtful. Take the NFL as a comparison since it’s also a contact sport. They’re having 5-10 cases almost daily and there’s talk of having to postpone a game almost weekly. Now take the NBA where it’s not a possibility to wear masks while playing and teams have to fly across the country every day. Even the MLB had its share of breakouts in a league where players barely come near each other. So, I’d be really surprised if the NBA would be able to make it through the season without having to stop or move to a bubble.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      They won’t be flying across the country every day. The preseason schedule shows what they will be doing to limit travel as much as possible. We will see teams playing each other twice in a row at the same venue as much as possible.

    • miltpappas

      They should have pulled the plug on the NFL months ago. My bank opens 8 hours a week. No restaurants, theaters, concert venues, etc. are allowed to open but they allow 22 sweaty guys to breathe, cough and pile onto each other? This is politics at its zenith.

  2. harden-westbrook-mvps

    I will never root for the Saints, but they should have an easy time tomorrow against a team without a regular QB on their active roster.

  3. Sillivan

    My deepest concern is that staff and players girlfriends or chick test positive

    It’s highly likely to switch to bubble again

  4. The Human Rain Delay

    The mid- season No All star break is brilliant. Have a feeling that will come in clutch for many tough calls at the time-

    They may have to audible to a bubble at that time-

    Schedule makers can probably cut travel by 30-40% by crunching the numbers as well

    • Even if they squeak through the first half without major interruptions, if COVID is still this bad at the break, switching back to the bubble might make sense.

  5. If any of the nba players get test positive then I would just go back to doing the bubble.

  6. hiflew

    They did it perfectly with the bubble. We need to stop kidding ourselves that the pandemic is over. It will end eventually as all pandemics eventually do, but we cannot rush it. The Spanish Flu took 3 years to fully flame out. The exact same arguments about wearing masks vs not wearing masks took place back then. We may have access to better technology and wider communication, but as far as actual grouped human intelligence, we are just as bad as ever. If not worse because now not only is the good information widely available, but so is the incorrect information.

  7. HubcapDiamondStarHalo

    It hasn’t worked out well for pro football, college football or college basketball…

  8. KnickerbockerAl

    It’s not going to be easy. Players need to follow protocol. Keep outsiders out. The schedule needs to done as best as possible. A vaccine could be here before playoffs. Fact we are close to some form of normal. Should help make them do it right. Quarantine for just 7 more months. Work and go home or hotel. It’s not a lot to ask. NBA teams only carry 15 players and staff. It’s a longer schedule. You make it to playoffs with minimal exposure. You can go bubble for playoffs. They got their own planes. Toughen up and follow protocol. We can do this. I’m rooting for them.

    • hiflew

      They need to, but they won’t. Some player will try to sneak in a woman dressed as a guy or some player will get a hankering for strip club chicken wings or something else that seems like a bad writer made it up BUT ACTUALLY HAPPENED!

      You cannot trust people to do what they are supposed to do, because very few people on Earth do what they are supposed to do. Let alone people with enough money to basically whatever they want. These millionaire players are not going to be content to just play cards in a hotel room with each other. And I wouldn’t either. You make money, so you can enjoy spending it. If you can’t go out and spend it, it’s nothing more than a stack of paper.

      I hope I am wrong, but I seriously doubt that I am.

      • bigguccisosa300

        No, you are right. KnickerbockerAl’s outline sounds great but it doesn’t include the nature of human beings.

  9. mike.honcho

    Everyone is rooting for Adam Silver & the NBA to do this with the least hitches possible. In the worst case scenario, they can always go back to a bubble or multiple bubble settings – which was among the rumored plans back then.

  10. bigguccisosa300

    I think a 72 game season would be tough without having stretches of key players just not being in lineups. Too many of those and it would be hard to feel like it was even worth it.

  11. Luckylefty2

    Everytime people mention the bone headed mistakes that athletes have made, NBA & NFL players are always mentioned, but never the MLB….I wonder why?

    • The Human Rain Delay

      Mlb is dead thats why……… Honestly its painful to say as an MLB guy but that sport is setting behind the mountainside ever so slowly right now into complete obscurity

  12. azentropy

    I highly doubt it will work out. I can certain understand why they don’t want to do a bubble again though.

    • Luckylefty2

      Why not? Before theyre allowed into the arena they have to stay in their cars and do a nose, throat & spit into a cup. Results will come in 15-30 minutes. If a guy gets it he goes home and its the next man up…..

  13. nentwigs

    How can it possibly be COVID-19 prudent with all of that dribbling taking place on the court ??

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