While the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to rage on across the globe, the NBA has been at work working on a plan to safely bring back the 2019-20 regular season after they were forced to suspend it in March.
Even after two months of discussions, there has not yet been decisions made on a return to play given all the logistical challenges that the virus presents. One of the major issues being discussed is how much time players need to properly re-acclimate to live-game action.
Although most have been able to get by with what they had on hand and practice facilities across the league have opened of late, it is still not comparable to what full-scale workouts provide and a quick return to the court would only increase the risk of injury.
There has been mounting optimism in recent weeks that the regular season can be salvaged as facilities across the United States have begun to slowly reopen, which in turn allows players to get back in the gym. Now it appears that the league is considering a shorter adjustment period for training camp, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic:
In terms of the training component, one source with knowledge of the league’s latest talking points said the time estimates for a training camp have been shortened in recent weeks. Whereas the early discussions involved the possible prospect of needing four or five weeks for camps, the goal now appears to be closer to two or three.
Several players, such as Los Angeles Lakers forward Jared Dudley, have been vocal about needing ample time to get their bodies right and find their rhythm with their teams before jumping back into games, so this recent piece of news is a bit surprising.
Head coach Frank Vogel also noted a similar concern, explaining teams would need to find a balance between workouts and not pushing players too much.
It is a foregone conclusion that the 2020-21 NBA season will be pushed back, but shaving off a couple of weeks of training would provide more cushion later in the year for things like training camp and preseason. An altered playoff format would also give the league some options with the schedule, but that has yet to be determined.
All in all, everyone in the league will just have to wait and see how the outbreak situation develops. Commissioner Adam Silver previously gave a timeline of two to four weeks for a decision back on May 12, so clarity may come soon enough.