As players across the National Basketball Association return to their respective arenas, 48 out of 546 players tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday during the initial testing phase from Nov. 24 to Nov. 30, The Athletic's Shams Charania reports.
The league expected a number of positive tests because players reentered their markets and restarted the league's cohesive health and safety protocols, Charania reported. This is part of the process and similar to when players were tested in-market prior to the July restart for the NBA bubble in Orlando, Fla.
The NBA issued each team a 134-page health and safety protocol guide on Nov. 28 for the 2020-21 season.
With each team starting the new season outside of a bubble, the health and safety protocols require that if someone tests positive for COVID-19, there are two paths to returning. The person either has to go at least 10 days since the initial positive test or symptom onset, or they have to receive two negative PCR test results at least 24 hours apart.
The NBA will start its preseason games on Dec. 11 and will begin the NBA season on Dec. 22, when the Brooklyn Nets will take on the Golden State Warriors while the Los Angeles Lakers will battle the Los Angeles Clippers.
On Dec. 23, the Boston Celtics will take on the Milwaukee Bucks while the Dallas Mavericks will play the Phoenix Suns.
Then, on Christmas Day, the New Orleans Pelicans will play the Miami Heat, the Warriors go up against the Bucks, the Nets will play the Celtics, the Mavericks will play the Lakers and the Clippers will take on the Denver Nuggets.
The season is expected to run through late July.