LOS ANGELES -- With concerns over the spread of the swine flu forcing the cancellation of all public school sporting events in Texas through May 11th, the NBA is keeping a close eye on the situation in case the impact of the disease effects the 2009 postseason. With two Texas teams still playing -- the Dallas Mavericks, which advanced to the second round after defeating San Antonio on Tuesday; and the Houston Rockets, which play Game 6 of their first round series against Portland on Thursday -- the league has kept an open line of communication with federal health officials.
"We are monitoring this very closely and following all of the advice of the CDC and the World Health Organization," said NBA spokesman Tim Frank. "There has been no suggestion or direction from any government or health officials that public gatherings should be cancelled or avoided."
On Wednesday the Rockets issued a statement through the Toyota Center.
"We are aware of the situation and concerned for all involved," the statement read. "We have been working with city health officials and the mayor's office, as well as monitoring the situation from state and regional authorities. At this time, Toyota Center has been advised to continue its normal operations pertaining to Rockets and Aeros playoff games as well as concerts. We will continue communicating with the various agencies and will keep our fans apprised if any operational changes are implemented based on the directives we receive from local authorities."
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in an email to SI.com Wednesday night that the Mavericks were closely monitoring the situation but weren't taking any specific precautions at this time.
"We are keeping up with all health alerts," said Cuban. "Its a moving target that we will keep close tabs on."
There have been 16 confirmed cases of swine flu in Texas since the outbreak began earlier this month. On Wednesday a two-year old Mexican boy who had been visiting Texas since April 4 became the first U.S. fatality linked to the disease.