The NBA tightened their health and safety protocols in response to a surge in positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases across the league that mirrors the worsening state of the pandemic in the United States.
The league has implemented new restrictions on activities outside of basketball and introduced measures that will limit contact between players and require them to wear masks even during training.
Marc Gasol spoke recently of the difficulty in following the rules, particularly for players with families. However, Gasol acknowledged the new protocols are similar to restrictions the Los Angeles Lakers already have been living under in L.A. County and therefore would not require a lot of adjustments.
It’s a sentiment LeBron James echoed. “I think for our team, we live in L.A. County, so the new protocols that came out is pretty much what we’ve been doing since March of last year,” he said.
“Not too much has changed on our landscape for us as a franchise. It’s pretty much standard for us anyway, so it’s easy for us to go about the new protocols in any way, shape, or fashion.”
James would certainly take strict health and safety protocols over the return of the isolated bubble environment. When asked whether the new rules could ensure the level of protection the NBA was able to create on the Walt Disney World campus during the restart of the 2019-20 season, the four-time NBA champion said the thought of the Orlando bubble “gave him PTSD.”
“I start shaking and thinking about 96 straight nights,” James joked.
NBA reportedly planning to test teams more frequently
Several NBA games have been postponed over the last week due to multiple teams dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks. The league is said to have asked teams to find local testing facilities to boost their testing efforts and ameliorate the worsening situation.
The NBA is reportedly hoping to be able to return test results for both home and away teams at least one hour before the start of a game. A number of players have been rushed to isolation even after tipoff due to positive case suspicions recently.
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