The outbreak of the coronavirus continues to hit the NBA hard. On Thursday, the Philadelphia 76ers announced that three members of the organization tested positive for virus. The specific individuals that tested positive were not made public, though those individuals are currently in self-isolation and will be continously monitored in the coming days.
The Sixers were tested as a team after Detroit Pistons center Christian Wood for COVID-19, as the Sixers were the last team to play the Pistons before the season was indefinitely suspended due to the outbreak of the virus. Regarding the situation, the Sixers realeased the following statement:
The Philadelphia 76ers, in consultation with medical experts and the NBA, received the recommendation that certain individuals from the organization, including players, coaches and specific basketball operations support staff, be tested for COVID-19. The tests were secured and processed privately.
Three individuals have received positive test results for COVID-19. All other tests results are currently negative. We have reported this information to state and local health authorities as required. Pursuant to CDC guidelines, the individuals are in self-isolation and will be monitored closely by medical professionals.
The health of our players, staff, fans and community is paramount, and we continue to be guided by medical experts at this time.We extend our gratitude and appreciation to the public health and medical communities for their tireless efforts during these challenging times, as well as to our fans and partners for their support.
In addition to the three members of the 76ers’ organization, Jazz All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell also tested positive for COVID-19, as did Christian Wood, two Lakers players, Marcus Smart of the Celtics, Kevin Durant and three other Nets players, and a member of the Nuggets organization. According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, eight of the league’s 30 teams have undergone team-wide testing. The teams that are publicly known are the Jazz, Thunder, Raptors, Nets, Lakers and Sixers. Four of those teams have had positive tests.
While some have been frustrated with the ease with which NBA teams seem to be acquiring the tests considering its lack of widespread availability, NBA spokesman Mike Bass made the argument to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that testing players across the league’s landscape is essential.
“Public health authorities and team doctors have been concerned that, given NBA players’ direct contact with each other and close interactions with the general public, in addition to their frequent travel, they could accelerate the spread of the virus,” Bass said. “Following two players testing positive last week, others were tested and five additional players tested positive. Hopefully, by these players choosing to make their test results public, they have drawn attention to the critical need for young people to follow CDC recommendations in order to protect others, particularly those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.”
NBA team facilities willto players and team staff beginning on Friday in order to try to curb the outbreak of the virus. During this time, players are able to travel outside of the city where they play, but they must remain in the country. Despite this, Silver remains optimistic that the season can still be salvaged, to an extent.
“I’m optimistic by nature, and I want to believe we’re gonna be able to salvage at least some portion of the season,”. “Again, I’d say we’ve done new and creative things in the past, we experimented with this year’s All-Star Game with a unique ending, we’ve talked about play-in tournaments for going into the playoffs, there may be other things we can do with the format. I know I’ve heard from a lot of our players. It’s been less than a week, they’re going stir crazy, they want to play, they want to compete.. We’re gonna try by every means we can to play basketball again, but the safety and health of our players and fans is first.”
While a return to basketball this season would be great, it’s obviously secondary to the health and safety of the teams, players and fans. The NBA will certainly explore all possible avenues when it comes to getting back on the floor, but the situation is fluid, and something that the league can’t control. Like everyone else, they just have to hope that the virus can be curbed in a timely manner.