As the NBA looks to reopen practice facilities, COVID-19 testing remains a stumbling block. The Orlando Magic took their own first step on that issue, receiving permission to test players.
The NBA is cautiously seeking to re-open practice facilities around the league, but a lack of available COVID-19 testing in regions where teams are located continues to be a stumbling block. While getting tests for players and staff isn’t an issue for the league, the optics of testing players in regions where tests are in short supply for the simple purposes of getting in limited practice reps is definitely a concern. The Orlando Magic headed off some of those concerns by getting permission from both the NBA and the Orange County (FL) Department of Health to test their players.
According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
The state of Florida has been especially eager to re-open (as well as reticent to close in the first place), so we can only hope that the assurances from the Orange County Department of Health are indeed correct and not influenced by business concerns.
Thanks to the wildly varying differences in regional infection rates as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, restrictions and permissions will vary from team to team.
Wojarnowski continued on Twitter:
While players will now be free to practice under strict guidelines, time will tell how many actually take advantage of the opportunity instead of continuing on with whatever their specific personal workout routines have been for the past six weeks.
Teams are also likely to make their facilities available to all players in their region, making this more of a region-specific opening rather than team-specific. With the number of players that live in Los Angeles in the offseason (and likely returned home), the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers may find their facilities busy around the clock.
Or they may find them totally deserted if players decline the option.
It’s important to remember that facilities opening have no bearing on the potential resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season, but any hint at a return to normalcy carries with it some small needed sense of relief. We’ll see in the coming days how this new policy impacts things for teams and players.