The NBA and NBPA announced that 344 players were tested for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) between June 24-29 and it was discovered that nine additional players tested positive. The league previously revealed 16 players tested positive when screening officially began on June 23, bringing the total to 25.
In addition, of the 844 team staff employees tested between June 23-29, 10 were positive for coronavirus. The individuals — players and coaches — who tested positive entered self-isolation until they are able to satisfy health protocols and obtain clearance from a physician.
The NBA will not reveal the names of those who tested positive, and that’s an approach the Los Angeles Lakers are taking as well. The Lakers, like other teams across the league, began mandatory individual workouts this week.
“The NBA instituted, starting June 23, a league-wide protocol of testing for employees and players. The league is also handling communications around that, so we’re just going to refer that question to the league and we’re going to follow their testing protocol and their procedures for our players,” Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka answered when asked if any of the team’s players tested positive.
“We’re not going to really get into the topic of sharing private medical information or HIPAA protected stuff. I think what we’re seeing in the league is some people choose to step forward and talk about a positive test and their journey. We want those rights to come from those individuals. I’d refer to those players or staff members from before, if they choose to step forward and share their journey, I’d rather have that come from them.”
Despite the positive tests, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has faith in the NBA’s plan for its restart at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. “I do have a great deal of confidence in this bubble set up and the process,” he said. “Those tests, to me, was something I really expected.
“You’re seeing it in all sports as they begin testing. I think that’s the reason they began testing several weeks before we go down there, so we can identify who is positive and go through the necessary quarantine and hopefully put us in a position when we get to Orlando, those types of scenarios are minimal or none at all. I have confidence in what we’re going to be entering into in Orlando.”
The Lakers will open up the restart with a game against the L.A. Clippers on July 30.
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