Utah Jazz Welcomed Players Back To Practice

May 11, 2020, 4:32 PM | Updated: 4:36 pm
zions bank basketball campus...
Player practice at the Zions Bank Basketball Center (Photo: Ben Anderson)
(Photo: Ben Anderson)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz welcomed players back to the Zions Bank Basketball Campus, the team announced. On Friday, the NBA began allowing teams to open their practice facilities for the first time since March 11. The league was shuttered after Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the Coronavirus.

“A handful of Utah Jazz players participated in voluntary, individual workouts today at the Zions Bank Basketball Campus,” the release said. “In accordance with Utah Department of Health and NBA regulation.”

The Jazz are one of the first teams in the league to reopen their doors amid the hiatus. Additionally, the Portland Trailblazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, and Atlanta Hawks have welcomed players back to the floor.

Previously, the Jazz had indicated a plan to reopen facilities soon after the NBA would allow it.

Vice President of Basketball Operations said the Jazz first needed to meet state standards before reopening.

“My best guess it will be after May 8th,” Lindsey said. “We want to make sure the facility meets all of the league’s specifications.”

Additionally, Lindsey said the team would be happy to see its players return to the floor.

“I think that we’re excited about the opportunities to bring our players back here safely,” Lindsey said. “Take the first small step towards returning to play whenever that happens.”

NBA Practice Restrictions

The team will face league strict restrictions, even as the Jazz welcomed players back to the floor. The NBA will only allow four players in the facility at one time. Furthermore, players can’t share one basket, while head coaches, top assistants, and front office members cannot aid in the workouts.

Lindsey said the team planned on having several players take part in the workouts.

“We do have a significant number here locally and we will follow all those protocols,” Lindsey said of his players. “But with that said, we look forward to having them in our building soon.”

However, players who have left the state of Utah can’t return to the state via a team provided private plane. League commissioner Adam Silver cited competitive advantage management as the reason players will be asked to choose to travel on their own.

Guards Donovan Mitchell, Jordan Clarkson, and Mike Conley are all stationed out of state. All three players would have to fly back to Utah at their own cost to enter the practice facilities.

Not All Teams In The NBA Will Open Practice Facilities

However, not all teams in the NBA will open practice facilities. Even some teams in states with looser shelter-in-place orders will keep their doors closed.

The Houston Rockets will keep their facility closed until at least May 18. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he doesn’t yet feel safe opening the doors for his team.

Cuban plans to wait until adequate testing supplies are available before he will once again open his doors. The billionaire owner has been one of the league’s most forward thinkers regarding the coronavirus. Cuban was one of the first owners to commit to paying his sidelined employees throughout the hiatus.

Important Step Towards Reopening

Though the NBA insists it is no closer to a return date despite reopening practice facilities, the move is a step in the right direction. One hurdle the league will face before returning to play is getting it’s players back in shape.

With many players stuck in apartment complexes, a large percentage of the league’s 450 players haven’t been able to shoot a basketball. In the meantime, the league has worked with players to get them set up with exercise equipment. However, having a regulation NBA hoop to shoot on should allow players to once again find their basketball rhythm.

“The fans, the players, the staff are all top of mind,” Lindsey said. “So when the league deems that to be safe, we’ll start moving forward with play and competition.”

As the Jazz welcomed players back to the floor, the league can get a better sense of what is required to once again return to action.

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