On Sunday afternoon, the Portland Trail Blazers announced that they will be closing their practice facility after three members of the franchise tested positive for the coronavirus. Around the NBA, training camps started around December 1. The league gears up to start the 2020-21 season on December 22nd, but with added health and safety protocols in position because of the prevalent COVID-19 pandemic.
On returning to their home markets, all NBA players were tested to start training camp and the upcoming season. 48 out of 546 players tested positive. The Trail Blazers are the first team to shut their practice facility after positive tests, whereas the Golden State Warriors delayed the start of their training camp this week after two members tested positive for COVID-19.
Regarding the positive tests, the Trail Blazers issued the following statement:
“Over the past four days, we have had three positive COVID test results within our organization. Out of an abundance of caution, having completed contact tracing, we are closing our practice facility today for deep cleaning while we run confirmatory tests.”
The league shared more health and safety protocols earlier this week that every team has to follow when the season starts. The NBA has also sent out a warning to every team stating that if the outlined protocols are not followed, there will be severe punishments for players and franchises, including suspensions, fines, adjustment or loss of draft choices and forfeited games. Players could see reduced paychecks if they do not follow the rules laid out by the NBA. Visiting bars, lounges, clubs, live entertainment venues, public gyms, pools and spas and large indoor gatherings, among other things, are prohibited.
Unlike the bubble experiment that NBA conducted in Orlando to finish the remainder of the 2019-20 season, the league is stepping into uncharted territory by playing games in home markets and having teams travel to various cities to compete. Thus, the stakes are much higher and players, coaches and staff personnel must be held to an even higher standard in order to complete the upcoming season safely.