As the NBA moves towards a potential return to play, the biggest concern across all teams and the league is the health and safety of the players, staff, and everyone involved.
For the players especially, there are a lot of concerns aside from the coronavirus itself. Because of the lockdown, they have not had the access to team facilities and all of the workout equipment and trainers they would normally have.
While some of the NBA’s biggest stars may have their own personal gyms or courts, the vast majority of players have had to find other ways to try and stay in shape. And to go back into games before having enough time to properly train and get into game shape could have severe consequences.
With concerns about potential injuries as well as the obvious worries about the virus itself, NBA general managers reportedly are unanimously in favor of expanding playoffs rosters, via Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer:
General managers unanimously favored expanding rosters in the postseason, sources said.
Currently, the NBA allows for a 15-man postseason roster, with 13 of those being active for every game. There is no word as to what changes would be made for this postseason should the league agree with the GMs and decide to expand the rosters.
The maximum NBA roster size is 17 players which includes 15 players plus two on two-way contracts. The most likely option would seem to be allowing for 15 players to be active during games as opposed to the 13 that is the norm.
This would give teams a bit more room in case someone was to get hurt or if someone has unfortunately contracted the virus and must be isolated away from the team.
The concerns for these players are legitimate as rushing back to full-scale, intense NBA playoff games so soon after not being able to train to the degree necessary to be in basketball shape could result in injuries. This was an issue back in 1999 when the NBA began regular season games just two weeks after ending the lockout and the league does not want to repeat that problem.
The NBA and its teams will be sure to give its players enough time to safely return to play, but giving teams a little bit more room for error makes a lot of sense as well, and is obviously something that everyone is in favor of.