NBA Players Will Test for COVID-19 'Every Other Day' Before Orlando

Justin Grasso

Back in March, when the NBA suspended the 2019-2020 season, COVID-19 tests were hard to come by. While the virus was spreading throughout the country, a case of COVID-19 eventually crept into the NBA as Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive on the night of March 11. Shortly after, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made the call to suspend the season until further notice.

Over the next couple of weeks, a handful of NBA players and staff tested positive -- three of which were from the Philadelphia 76ers' organization. Seeing the domino effect take place, Adam Silver and the NBA's Board of Governors knew it was going to take a while before they could make the call to resume the season or cancel it entirely.

Fortunately, the NBA has come up with a plan to return to action. Next month, 22 teams are scheduled to travel to Orlando, Florida, where they will remain in what's being labeled as a 'bubble city' at ESPN's Wide World of Sports in Disney. Before players and essential staff travel, though, the NBA wants to ensure there are zero cases of the coronavirus within the league before the season resumes.

Therefore, players and essential staff will have to undergo COVID-19 tests every other day, according to a report from ESPN.

"The memo, which was obtained by ESPN, says players and "essential team staff" -- any coaches, trainers or medical personnel who will be working with players directly, or will be part of the travel party to Orlando, Florida -- will be administered both a COVID-19 test and an antibody test on June 23."

"Each person will then be administered another COVID-19 test every other day, as well as the two days directly before the team leaves for Walt Disney World. All teams are currently scheduled to arrive at Walt Disney World between July 7 and July 9."

At the moment, it's unclear what will happen if somebody in a team's traveling party tests positive for COVID-19. Adam Silver and the Board of Governors agreed not to pause everything if a player or staff member tests positive this time around. 

However, any player who leaves the Disney bubble or tests positive for COVID-19 will be forced to quarantine for nearly two weeks. Although the NBA's memo didn't indicate that would be the case before the season resumes, it's likely the same rules will apply to anybody who tests positive for COVID-19 during the frequent testing everybody will partake in before traveling to Florida.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_

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