To this point, the NBA has arguably the most intricate and elaborate return plan that we have seen from any other professional sport. The NBAPA, with help from the CDC, has left no stone unturned in their efforts to keep players safe and healthy in the return to play during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
There are even rules against playing doubles Ping-Pong!
On Tuesday, the Athletic's Shams Charania obtained a detailed account of the NBPA's action plan for the players, and based on his report, the six-phase plan seems to have them fully prepared for any eventuality.
Donut 1: Phase 1
With the international players already returning to their home markets on June 15, all US-based players are scheduled to return to their team markets on June 22nd, where they will be allowed to begin individual workouts at team facilities on a voluntary basis, as well as holding virtual workouts via Facetime, Zoom, and other virtual avenues.
Players will also be asked to remain secluded in their homes with their family, and for their families travels to also be restricted to minimize risk as much as possible.
Donut 2: Phase 2
Phase two, which will begin on June 23, will see all teams begin the mandatory testing of their players, which will include both the shallow nasal swab and blood tests.
Following the testing, if a player or family member shows symptoms of the virus, that player must report the issue to his team's medical staff, and follow that staff's instruction for further guidance.
Donut 3: Player Non-participation
Also in Phase 2, Charania's report noted a handful of stipulations for players who choose not to participate in the resumed season. Those players, who will be deemed either "excused" or "protected" must inform their team of their wish not to participate by June 25.
Players have also been notified that, should they choose not to play, they will not be disciplined.
Donut 4: Phase 3
Beginning on July 1, players must report to their team facilities for mandatory individual workouts, with the coach being allowed to observe and instruct. However, group workouts will still not be allowed, and no more than eight players will be allowed to enter the facility at any given time.
Donut 5: Phase 4, Part 1
Phase four will begin on July 7 and will dictate the arrival of the teams and players to Orlando to begin their team activities. Staff and players must stay isolated until they pass two PCR tests that are no less than 24 hours apart.
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Per the report, Players will also have an option to wear a proximity device that notifies them if they spend more than five seconds within less than a six-foot perimeter of another person wearing a device. Said device will be a requirement for staff members.
Donut 6: The basics required
Players and staff will also be required to follow all basic social distancing practices, including wearing masks at all times outside of their rooms, staying six feet apart from others.
Random drug testing will also begin during this part of the phase.
Donut 7: Phase 4, Part 2
The second part of phase four allows for all teams to begin team workouts and includes plans for their diets and social requirements at their hotels. Players will not be allowed to enter each other's rooms and are expected not to leave the Disney campus once they arrive.
Donut 8: What happens if they leave?
If a player does decide to leave, they must follow league designated testing and quarantine procedure upon their return.
Donut 9: Phase 5
Phase five begins on July 22 and will start scrimmages between the teams residing in their designated hotels. From this point forward, players will be allowed to socialize with other players and staff from the other hotels, but are still not allowed to visit each other's rooms.
Donut 10: Phase 6
July 30 begins the final phase of the plan, as well as the resumed season, which will include the seeding games, and eventually, the playoffs. Once teams are eliminated from contention, they will immediately return to their team markets. Players will only be allowed to leave if they return a negative PCR test.
Donut 11: Where are the Mavericks, and everyone else for that matter, staying?
Charania also revealed where each team will be staying on the Disney Campus, with the Dallas Mavericks slated to stay at the Grand Floridian along with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic, Brooklyn Nets, and Memphis Grizzlies.
Donut 12: The Final Word
“I actually have looked at [the NBA’s] plan and it is really quite creative what they’re really trying to do and I think they might very well be quite successful with it,” Fauci told Stadium. “They really wanted to make sure that the safety of the players was paramount."