The Walt Disney World Bubble continues to live up to its billing as a coronavirus (COVID-19) safe zone. The NBA and MLS seem to be coasting through their respective operations and have had enough success that a return to home markets for the 2020-21 season has now come into question.
The MLB has struggled to run through its schedule across 30 ballparks, with more than 20 games postponed due to positive tests across multiple teams. In contrast, the NBA and NBPA have announced that there have been zero positive tests since July 13.
With the safety of the bubble being reaffirmed by the day, the NBA has now decided to ease the consequence following an inconclusive test, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Now, a player returning an inconclusive result — which occurs in approximately five of every 1,000 tests — can still become eligible to play in a game that is within 24 hours — instead of needing to wait 48 hours, the memo said. The player must test negative in an immediate retest upon receiving the inconclusive result, and then return another negative test within 60 minutes of the scheduled tipoff of his team’s next game, the memo said.
Teams fear playoff scenarios where a key player could be lost — despite the fact that he hasn’t tested positive for the coronavirus.
Soccer recently encountered such a situation in their MLS is Back Tournament, where a player received an inconclusive test. A player on Toronto FC tested inconclusive on the morning of a scheduled match, and the league postponed the match to the following day. The player subsequently received two negative tests and was able to return to the team.
The Lakers also endured a similar situation with Danny Green and JaVale McGee, as their results were inconclusive and both players were delayed in participating in practice as the rest of the team was cleared.
Even with a one-day quarantine, an inconclusive test could prove catastrophic to a team in a playoff game and would turn a series on its head. Hopefully, the NBA maintains its apparent safety and can power through the season as scheduled.
LeBron James prioritizing health as postseason nears
With the NBA playoffs set to begin in a couple of weeks, the Los Angeles Lakers have clinched the Western Conference’s best record. The Lakers have already lost two key contributors in Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo, and LeBron James is determined to avoid any more injuries.
“Health is wealth. That’s the No. 1 thing, and then chemistry comes with that on the floor,” James said. “Going into the postseason as healthy as we can be is what’s most important.
“Clinching the one seed is not much of a home-court advantage here, but we worked hard to be the No. 1 team in the West and possibly the No. 1 team in the league. Milwaukee is playing extremely well, but we got this far, so we might as well try to figure it out and close it off the right way.”
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