Daily virus tests for NBA players ahead of season

The upcoming season will see 72 games per club to be staged at empty home arenas.
The upcoming season will see 72 games per club to be staged at empty home arenas.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • National Basketball Association (NBA) players have started to undergo daily Covid-19 tests ahead of next month's start of the 2020-21 season under health and safety procedures outlined by the league to teams.

The guide, unveiled last Saturday, details protocols regarding the upcoming campaign, which is set to start on Dec 22.

Pre-season contests will open from Dec 11 and training camps will start this week.

Last season was completed in a bio-secure "bubble" in Orlando after being halted for four months from March by the Covid-19 pandemic. This season will see 72 games per club which are to be staged at empty home arenas.

The league is to announce its upcoming season schedule in the next few days. Individual workouts will be voluntary today, followed by required ones from tomorrow to Saturday and compulsory group workouts from Sunday to Dec 10.

Among the key provisions of the protocols, which mention no criteria that might cause the NBA to suspend the season, were a small number of Covid-19 positive cases not requiring a season shutdown.

Anyone testing positive can return to work after 10 or more days following the first positive test or onset of symptoms, or produce two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Any player who tests positive, even if without symptoms, must wait 10 days and then be monitored in solo workouts for two more days before returning to the team.

An anonymous tip line will be established to report possible safety protocol violations, something that was also used in the "bubble".

Team travel parties will be limited to 45 people, 17 of them players, as they use arenas across the nation.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2020, with the headline 'Daily virus tests for NBA players ahead of season'. Subscribe