clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The NBA lays out coronavirus protocols for the 2020-21 season

Players who test positive will have to be out at least 12 days before returning to play.

San Antonio Spurs v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Unlike the 2019-20 NBA season restart, the 2020-21 NBA season will happen in home markets while the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.

The United States is averaging about 200,000 cases of coronavirus tests daily, and it will only get worse. Meanwhile, the NBA is starting next season IN HOME MARKETS because, as Swedish singer Meja said in the 1990s ... it’s all ‘bout the money!

The song is 22 years old now, but it’s still relevant today. In terms of actual money, the NBA could generate an additional $500 million to $1 billion by playing games on Christmas, COVID-19 be damned.

Anyway, on Saturday, Tim Bontemps of ESPN reported protocols the league will have in place when players get COVID-19. Training camps start next week.

Here they are:

  • There are two ways a player can return to playing after infection with the coronavirus: time or testing. Regardless, the player has to be isolated for 10 days, then practice individually, isolated from the rest of the team for two more days while wearing a face mask. So when any NBA player gets the virus, he’s out for a minimum of 12 calendar days.
  • The previous point assumes that an infected player is asymptomatic or has a mild case that could include a dry cough or low fever. But there’s always a chance that an NBA player has to be hospitalized ... or worse. If a player has to be hospitalized, he must be observed for three days before being cleared to play. That player would be sidelined a minimum of 13 days after a positive test or symptoms. But a player who is hospitalized from the coronavirus could very well be out for much longer.
  • In all cases, NBA players with COVID-19 will be sent to special housing paid for by the teams while in isolation. Normally, NBA teams do not pay for player housing, but will this year because of the pandemic.

Bontemps reported that teams are required to keep travel parties to 45 people since they’ll be traveling during a time when people are strongly discouraged to do so.

The bottom line? Players are going to get COVID-19 this season, including those on the Wizards.

Since last summer, Thomas Bryant is the only current Wizards player who is known to have tested positive for COVID-19. Assuming no other Wizards players were exposed, there’s a good chance that several players on the team are infected with the virus at the same time.

Given how widespread the virus is in the United States, and the lack of a national strategy to combat it, anyone can get infected at any time, even while wearing a mask and social distancing.

This isn’t to say we should stop wearing masks because of the “inevitability” that “we are all getting the coronavirus.” In fact we must do the opposite.

Masks help limit the spread and the amount of virus one is exposed to. So even if someone gets the coronavirus while wearing a mask, that person still has a better shot at being asymptomatic or at least not being hospitalized, or placed in intensive care, or getting a ventilator tube shoved down his or her throat ... or dying. So ... just do it. It’s not a political thing — it’s just something we can do so we can see 2021 and 2022 together.

I get why the NBA wants to hold the season before Christmas though I think it’s a dumb decision once money is taken out of the picture (and even with it to be honest). Here’s hoping that no NBA players get seriously affected by this thing.