With less than one month remaining until the NBA resumes the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Florida, the league has seen several of its players test positive for COVID-19. On Thursday, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced via Twitter that nine additional players have registered positive test results, bringing the total of confirmed cases among players to 25.
The league began testing its players in preparation of the July 30 restart date on June 23, as previously reported by The Inquisitr, and 16 players were reported to have tested positive following the first round of screenings.
Although the league is not releasing the names of those who have tested positive, some have been reported in the media and even confirmed by the players themselves. As reported by ESPN, a pair of Brooklyn Nets teammates, DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie, were among those to have tested positive; for his part, Jordan confirmed his positive test result in a tweet earlier this week.
As tracked by CBS Sports, Derrick Jones, Jr. of the Miami Heat; Buddy Hield, Alex Len, and Jabari Parker of the Sacramento Kings; Malcolm Brogdon of the Indiana Pacers; and Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets are also reported to have tested positive.
Per the joint statement from the NBA and NBPA, 351 players have been tested in total. Meanwhile, 884 team staff members were also screened, 10 of which had positive test results. The statement noted that players, coaches, and staff members who test positive must remain in self-isolation until public health protocols for discontinuing quarantine have been cleared by a physician.
In spite of the growing number of positive tests, the league hasn’t altered course on its season restart. The 22 playoff-contending teams are still slated to report to the league’s bubble environment at Walt Disney World in the coming days, where each team will play an eight-game seeding schedule at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Postseason play will also emanate from the venue.
While the NBA is taking serious steps to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection, legitimate concerns remain regarding the safety of participants.
In addition to the positive test results for players and staff, confirmed cases of infection by the novel coronavirus are on the rise in Florida. Per the Florida Department of Health, the state set a new daily record of 9,558 new confirmed cases on July 1.
The NBA was the one of the first major professional sports organizations to suspend competition in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its leadership made the decision to press the proverbial pause button on March 11 when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first player to register a positive test result.