The sports world is at the mercy of coronavirus testing. Recent results have added the Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings to a growing list of teams that have closed their practice facilities days before they are scheduled to head to Orlando, Fla., for the NBA’s plan to restart the 2019-20 season.
According to ESPN, the Kings’ facility closed Sunday after one member of the traveling party tested positive for COVID-19. The results of the Bucks’ tests haven’t been made public, but they are scheduled to leave Thursday for Orlando — a day after the Kings. It was reported last month that the Sacramento’s Jabari Parker, Buddy Hield and Alex Len had all tested positive for the virus.
The Kings and Bucks aren’t the first teams to shut down, as the Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets have also recently closed their facilities. Any player who tests positive for coronavirus is required to quarantine and test negative twice before heading to Orlando.
Players still have time to pass that process before July 30, when the season is scheduled to restart. The plan is for 22 teams to set up in a “bubble” at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Each team will play eight regular-season games to determine playoff seeding, then the seven-game playoff series will begin, with the NBA Finals ending Oct. 12 at the latest.
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“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement when the plan was rolled out. “While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts. We also recognize that as we prepare to resume play, our society is reeling from recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice, and we will continue to work closely with our teams and players to use our collective resources and influence to address these issues in very real and concrete ways.”
The season has been suspended since Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive prior to a mid-March game in Oklahoma City.
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