The NBA decided to start the 2020-21 season in December despite the worsening coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in the United States. The league hoped its regular testing regime as part of strict health and safety protocols would minimize the risk of potential exposure for all involved.
Due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso has been inactive since the 127-91 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves and stayed in California as the defending champions left for their first road trip of the season.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel confirmed Caruso had to quarantine but was otherwise tight-lipped when asked about the reasons behind the 26-year-old’s absence.
However, the NBA has announced that no player has tested positive for COVID-19 since Dec. 24.
“Anyone who has returned a confirmed positive test is isolated until they are cleared for leaving isolation under the rules established by the NBA and the Players Association in accordance with CDC guidance,” the league said in a press release.
Considering NBA players, coaches and staff are tested daily and that Caruso was with the team during victories over the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 25 and the Timberwolves on Dec. 27, it appears that the guard has not tested positive for COVID-19.
However, players could still be required to quarantine if believed to have been potentially exposed to someone who contracted the virus.
James expects ‘challenging’ road trips
The Lakers defeated the San Antonio Spurs 121-107 in their first competitive road game since March. L.A. will face San Antonio again on Jan. 1 and then head to Tennessee for back-to-back games with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Lakers All-Star LeBron James is wary of the risks associated with travel during the pandemic and pointed out the team would take extra care to minimize the possibility of COVID-19 exposure. “It’s going to be different. It’s going to be very challenging just to hit the road, which we haven’t done very much,” he said.
“Going down to Texas and then heading to Tennessee, we’ll see what the rules and regulations in certain counties compared to ours,” James added said. “But more importantly, just trying to stay safe, stay healthy so we can be available for the games and go out and play Laker basketball.”
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