After a successful playoff run in the Orlando bubble, the NBA finds itself in uncharted waters as they try to play the 2020-21 season in home markets during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that is surging in several cities and states.
Much like the bubble, the league put together a comprehensive guide outlining health and safety protocols to keep players and staffs as safe as possible. Teams also have their own rules and players seem to be taking it seriously given what is at stake.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been diligent about following the protocols and head coach Frank Vogel emphasized he and the team are adhering to them.
“Everything we do at work, so to speak, or in our travel party, is designed to not only keep us safe from the virus but protect us from quarantine situation,” Vogel said.
“If we’re not following the protocols and a staff member is in close contact with someone, they’re going to be subject to a potential close contact quarantine. That’s at work. That’s why we feel it’s safe to go through an NBA season the way we’re doing it.
“All these protocols are in place to keep everyone safe, so we make sure we follow them. The things you have to think about is that’s not the only place people are. If any of us has a situation where a family member tests positive or something like that, we could all be subject to that type of close contact quarantine.
“In terms of what we’re doing at work these protocols are designed to keep us safe.”
Several players throughout the league have already been forced to miss games due to health and safety protocols, with Carmelo Anthony being a recent case. Anthony did not travel with the Portland Trail Blazers for their game against the Lakers.
Los Angeles has also experienced issues as Kostas Antetokounmpo and Devontae Cacok were given excused absences in the preseason, while Alex Caruso is due to miss a fourth consecutive game on Sunday.
Vogel is not certain when Caruso will be able to re-join the team, but the NBA did recently announce there were not new positives during the timeframe his absence started.
Vogel details daily testing at facility
As part of the league’s protocols, teams are required to test daily for COVID-19. Vogel detailed what the Lakers testing process is like. “We adjust the testing window based on what our day looks like,” he explained.
“An off day, I think we’re typically doing something like eight to 12; guys can come in any time throughout that window. If we have practice at 11 or noon, we just adjust the testing window accordingly.
“With 9:45 (a.m.) shootaround, we start testing at 7:30. We adjust it based on a day’s schedule. If we’re on an off day, we just drive in, go get tested and go back home.”
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