The NBA was able to successfully shut out the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during the restart and playoffs while within the confines of the Walt Disney World bubble.
They were commended by fans and health experts throughout the United States, but will now have to face potential positive tests as the next season begins. With under one month until the beginning of the 2020-21 season, the league released a hefty number of protocols regarding health and safety while playing not in a bubble.
The NBA must be prepared for what happens when positive tests come up, as they are far more likely outside of a bubble. In the event of a positive test, there will be two ways for players to return to action and leave self-isolation, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN:
Per the NBA's health and safety protocols for the 2020-21 season, if someone tests positive for COVID-19 there are two paths to them returning: either going at least 10 days since the first positive test or symptom onset, or having two negative PCR tests at least 24 hours apart.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) November 28, 2020
These being the only two ways for a player to return to the court after a positive test is by far the safest route. Anything else could lead to significant outbreaks, especially given that basketball is an indoor sport.
Ten days has been used by every major sports league instead of 14, as a person likely will not have symptoms or register a positive test until they have been infected for approximately five days. As for the two negative tests policy, this will offset any potential false positives, as player who tests positive could be back on the court within three days if the next two tests are negative.
Over the next several months, we will see some seemingly strict protocols in place. However, given the uncertainty still surrounding this pandemic, the NBA is working to be as safe as possible in an attempt to avoid what has happened in other major leagues.
Rob Pelinka hints at load management for LeBron James
While health and safety of the players remains the top priority for the league, it also is a priority for the Los Angeles Lakers, who are facing an incredibly short layoff between winning the championship and the season beginning.
Because of this, GM Rob Pelinka hinted that LeBron James may be doing some form of load management throughout the regular season.
“That will just be a balancing act throughout the season of kind of recognizing there was an extremely short layoff between a championship and start of the season,” Pelinka said. “And kind of figuring out what’s best for LeBron, what’s best for his health, our team’s health, what’s best for the league, and kind of walking that carefully and thoughtfully throughout the year.”
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