Philadelphia 76ers to Participate in Leaguewide Coronavirus Study

Justin Grasso

Ever since March 11th, 2020, the NBA has been on a hiatus. As Rudy Gobert, of the Utah Jazz, tested for the coronavirus, the results came back that same night. And it turned out, he was the first NBA player to test positive. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wasted no time suspending the season and putting everything on hold.

Now, during the league's suspension, the Minnesota Timberwolves will collaborate with the Mayo Clinic in hopes to lead a leaguewide study to "establish what percentage of NBA players, coaches, executives, and staff have developed antibodies to the coronavirus," according to a report from ESPN. 

And the Philadelphia 76ers plan to participate in the study, according to a league source. For quite some time, the NBA has held off on permitting teams to conduct COVID-19-related tests for players who were not showing symptoms of the virus. 

That was mainly because after the NBA suspended the season, teams were able to obtain tests for coaches, players, and staffers while the country was at a shortage. To no surprise, that caused tons of backlash towards the league.

Now, the NBA will follow the lead of Major League Baseball employees and have antibodies tests conducted to help with studies. While doctors are still trying to pinpoint what the presence of antibodies means for sure, the study could help find out which NBA personnel have had the coronavirus but never showed any symptoms. 

Back in March, the Philadelphia 76ers received tests for players, coaches, and staff members that could've been exposed to the virus. Shortly after, it was reported the Sixers had three members of the organization who were positive for COVID-19. 

Since then, reports have indicated that NBA personnel who tested positive for coronavirus after the NBA season was suspended have all recovered. The next step now will be testing personnel to see if there were, in fact, more cases of COVID-19 in the NBA. And if so, who is immune and for how long.

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