Just days after the NBA began reopening its training facilities and starting the process of returning to basketball, safety concerns changed the plans of the league. The NBA originally planned to reopen its practice facilities in areas where the rules of social distancing are relaxed, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. However, the league announced on Monday that it will postpone the date until at least May 8, if not later. In addition, the league has established the following guidelines for training at its facilities.
- No more than four players would be allowed in one facility at a time.
- No head or assistant coach could participate.
- Group activity remains prohibited, including practices or scrums.
- Players are still prohibited from using off-team facilities such as public health clubs, fitness centers or gymnasiums.
In addition, players in team facilities must wear masks at all times, except during physical activity, and staff members must be at least 12 feet away, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The original decision to reopen the training facilities was based on Georgia’s plan to slowly reopen its economy, as players planned to go there to facilitate training in a way the NBA considered dangerous. But the Atlanta Hawks, Georgia’s only NBA team, had decided not to open their facilities on May 1, a Hawks source with CBS Sports confirmed.
This May 8 date only applies to regions where the rules for staying at home are relaxed. The original May 1 plan sought to find safe facilities in areas that had not relaxed their guidelines for the sake of competitive balance. A number of high-level players call a facility hygiene manager among its current staff, according to Charania.to train or even shoot, so if a return to basketball is coming, it is essential to allow players to train properly. According to Charania, however, NBA players will not be allowed to train at facilities other than those of their NBA team. We also asked the teams
For now, the NBA has informed its teams that “it is not possible or appropriate in the current context of public health to regularly test all players and staff for the COVID-19”, according to Charania, and all sort of widespread return to basketball would include regular testing. Players must also receive a resting ECG and a troponin test before engaging in physical activity, according to Charania.
The reported plan to bring back the basketball involved a 25-day preparation period during which players would train individually for 11 days before joining teams for a 14-day training camp. Some players have expressed skepticism about the viability of such a truncated schedule, and now, with the facility’s opening delayed, all hope of launching this plan has been dashed for the moment.
No NBA games have been played since March 11. Six weeks without basketball are on the books now, and a few more are sure to come. Nothing is set in stone yet, but today’s news proves how far the NBA is from playing real games again.