With postponed games piling up this week due to health and safety protocols, the NBA sent a memo to teams Wednesday outlining a plan to supplement the current testing guidelines, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
Each team in the 28 NBA cities is being asked to research local providers of PCR tests. The league is hoping to have 40 tests on the morning of each game — enough to cover players on both teams along with referees — and have the results available at least an hour before tipoff. Bontemps notes that PCR tests are considered more accurate than rapid tests, but take much longer to process.
BioReference will remain the league’s official testing service, Bontemps adds, but the league wants to ensure a second option in case there’s a problem with the transportation of tests.
The NBA currently requires players and officials to have a negative PCR test from the day before a game before they are cleared to participate. The long window is necessary because the tests take about 12 hours to process, but Bontemps states that they can be available faster in cities with a BioReference lab.
Nine games have been postponed so far this season, including a pair on Friday night: the Wizards and Pistons in Detroit and the Warriors and Suns in Phoenix. The Wizards and Suns are unable to field the league minimum of eight healthy players.