The NBA sparked optimism in the sports world as states have begun relaxing their stay-at-home orders. May 8th has been set as the potential day to reopen their practice facilities in the relaxed states. In order to resume their season, the NBA will have to follow certain restrictions.
It’s almost certain that the season would be played with no fans present, as well as leaving out any teams that had no chance of making the playoffs. Most likely, one city will be chosen to play any regular season and playoff games. These restrictions would lessen the risk of COVID-19.
If practices picks back up on May 8th, what would they look like? No group activities, no non-NBA gyms, and limited people in the facilities. That means only four players at a time, with no coaches present.
Dr. Rand McClain shared his thoughts on the topic with Gary Washburn of MSN Sports.
“I think it all boils down to two things: medically risk assumption, what are you willing to risk?” he said. “And financially, what do you have on the table? What are you willing to spend? Do you want to curtail the hemorrhaging or take the (financial) loss and go on to next year?”
Although none has reached serious condition, players like Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Marcus Smart have tested positive for the virus. This makes the NBA even more cautious about a return.
”We should be able to pull it off.
Dr. Rand McClainon the NBA's Return
“It’s a little more difficult with the NBA because it’s a contact sport,” McClain said. “You’re posting up, getting in people’s faces in basketball, so it’s a little bit different. There are different risks that you’re asking the players to assume here. That’s the crux of the matter, are the players willing to assume that (medical) risk? Keeping the fans out of the stadium, that’s a no brainer.”
A level of isolation, frequent testing, and controlled environments for the players would be necessary as well.
“We should have enough testing in place and that’s going to need to be part of the program. Testing regularly is important. And then it’s up to the players to decide, ‘if we all agree, we’re going to do the regular testing,’ and we have a relatively clean group and then it’s a matter of keeping guys from being exposed to the disease during the season.”
Overall, Dr. Rand thinks we could pull it off. Hypothetically, practice would spend May and June preparing for the season, start in July, and conclude in September, in the hopes of avoiding the opening day of the NFL.
“Testing is going to be mandatory,” McClain said. “It will be taking too much risk (if there isn’t). It’s going to come back to, ‘hey guys, you want this to happen, then you’re going to have to shell out some coin for the testing.’ We landed on the moon. We can do this. But at what cost?”
“I can’t say the (NBA players) I work with represent everyone,” McClain said. “But I can say it’s a cross section when it comes to age and by and large, everyone wants to get back to playing. Everyone says, ‘I want to get back in the game and how do we do this Doc.’ I think most guys want to get back.”
This article was originally posted by the Boston Globe on MSN Sports.