Nearly two months after the NBA indefinitely suspended operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears the league is no closer to taking the steps necessary for basketball to return soon.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the NBA informed teams on Monday that it isn’t possible for the league to regularly test players and staff for COVID-19 during the current health crisis.
There seemed to be hope over the weekend after the NBA agreed to let some teams open their practice facilities to help players prepare for an eventual NBA return. Since that decision was made, though, the Atlanta Hawks announced they would keep their facilities closed and other organizations are expected to follow.
While teams are allowed to open their gym to players, guidelines put in place by the NBA show the league still has a long way to go. When facilities open on May 8, the league is requiring players to wear facemasks at all times, per The Athletic, unless they are working out.
Staffers working with players will be required to wear gloves and the NBA is limited workouts to no more than four players at one time with only one team staffer in attendance. Additionally, the league is not allowing players to use any training facility other than his NBA team.
Each team will also be required to assign a senior executive to the role of facility hygiene officer, overlooking the safety of team personnel and making sure the league’s rules are enforced.
Until the NBA is able and willing to test its personnel regularly for COVID-19, which would be required for the season to return, we’ll be without basketball for a lot longer.