Report: NBA Examining How To Replace Players With COVID-19, Injuries During Restart
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NBA “is working on the mechanisms that will be used to replace participants in this season’s resumption in the event of positive coronavirus tests or serious injuries” during the league’s restart in Orlando, Florida, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks.
On June 4, the NBA Board of Governors approved a plan for restarting the season and sent it to the Players Association for their ratification.
The league and the NBA Players Association are currently negotiating terms to restart the season on July 31 with eight regular season games and a postseason at Disney World.
No NBA games have been played since the 2019-20 season was suspended on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first player in the league to test positive for the coronavirus disease, COVID-19.
Sources told Wojnarowski and Marks that the NBA and its teams “are already discussing how teams will be able to utilize players on two-way contracts, a conversation revolving around safety, practicality and competition that will assuredly be a part of the ramp-up to restarting the season.”
According to ESPN’s report, if a player tests positive for COVID-19 or suffers a serious injury during training camps or the regular season’s final games, the league isn’t expected to place limits on the number of players an NBA team could sign to its roster to replace the player. Wojnarowski and Marks’ sources said that the pool of eligible players for addition to rosters would have restrictions.
“The league office has discussed the possibility with its teams that there could be a requirement that those players replaced for COVID-19 or injury would become ineligible to return for the balance of this season, sources said,” wrote Wojnarowski and Marks. “Front-office and union officials are expecting players who test positive to be quarantined for a minimum of seven days — and possibly 10 to 14 — based on several factors, sources told ESPN.”
The sources also said due to the advice from medical professionals, the NBA prefers to keep G League players on two-way contracts from playing in Orlando in an effort to limit roster expansion and the number of people at Disney World.
“Players will be tested for COVID-19 every night in the contained Orlando campus environment, with test results returning the next morning, sources said,” Wornarowski and Marks reported. “NBA teams will be contained to three specific hotels within the Disney complex, sources said.”
The league and the NBPA are still finalizing the details of a restart and are expected to announce final plans in the coming week.
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