The NBA is continuing its efforts to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that has affected several teams over the past couple of weeks and required more than 10 postponements.
The league tightened health and safety protocols last week, aiming to limit physical contact between players. Those included cutbacks to non-basketball team activities and banning pre- and postgame greetings in addition to extending face-covering requirements and plans to expand gameday testing.
However, league officials reportedly observed violations of the newly-introduced rules while further games were being cancelled due to contact tracing over the past week. In a statement, the NBA revealed that 11 out of the 502 players tested since Jan. 13 returned positive COVID-19 results.
Now, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the league is again taking action by deploying security members to ensure the players adhere to physical distancing guidelines:
After witnessing some opposing players disregarding new league rules against unnecessary contact on game nights, the NBA is moving team security into the midcourt area to dissuade violations that include hugging and handshakes, according to a league memo obtained by ESPN on Wednesday.
Lakers center Marc Gasol recently said that keeping up with the COVID-19 protocols proved challenging for the players, particularly those who have a family. However, he added that the updated rules would not alter the team’s routine much as the defending NBA champions are already subjected to strict health and safety restrictions in L.A. County.
James says mentions of Orlando bubble give him ‘PTSD’
LeBron James agreed that the Lakers would easily adjust to the new COVID-19 protocols due to a similarity in restrictions imposed by the city of Los Angeles.
However, when asked to compare the NBA’s approach to the pandemic this season and the rules imposed in the Orlando bubble during the resumed 2019-20 campaign, the four-time NBA champion said the question “gave him PTSD.”
“I start shaking and thinking about 96 straight nights,” James joked.
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