Monday, April 19

Restart Notes: Testing, TBT, Campus, Entertainment

When NBA commissioner Adam Silver first began talking in the spring about the possibility of resuming the 2019/20 season, he stressed that he didn’t want the league to be taking away coronavirus testing resources from the public. Now that 22 teams have reported to the Orlando campus and daily COVID-19 testing is taking place, that’s an issue worth watching, writes Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports.

According to Haberstroh, the NBA recently switched testing providers, going from Quest Diagnostics to BioReference Laboratories right around the same time that Quest issued a press release announcing a surge in demand and a delay in processing results. Major League Soccer is also using BioReference Laboratories for coronavirus testing and neither the MLS nor NBA has faced processing delays from BioReference so far. However, according to Haberstroh, BioReference is “experiencing serious delays” with the general public.

Dr. Zachary Binney, an epidemiologist at Oxford College of Emory University, tells Haberstroh that the optics of the NBA getting preferential treatment are troublesome, especially at a time when many states are being hit harder than ever by the coronavirus.

“If BioReference or Quest is unable to return tests to the general public in less than 3-5 days, then I think the NBA (receiving priority) is causing a problem,” Binney said. “The NBA has only two choices. One is to jump to the front of the line with sick people in the hospital or they have to wait an unsatisfactory amount of time to get their results that gives the virus space to move throughout the bubble. Neither of those choices are acceptable.”

Here’s more on the NBA’s restart:

  • Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register contends that the league has lowered its standard for its restart plan from “safe” to “safer than elsewhere” over the last few months.
  • Rich Hofmann of The Athletic spoke to some players participating in The Basketball Tournament about their experience so far playing in a “bubble” environment and the challenges that NBA players will face in the coming weeks and months. “After going through this for eight days, I really have my doubts about them doing it for three months,” former Temple standout Khalif Wyatt said “It’s a long time, first of all. These guys have families and kids that they won’t want to be away from for three months. We’ve tested a lot, so I know they’ll be testing a lot. I’m sure the NBA will make it super comfortable for them but it’ll just be really different. It’s just going to be hard.”
  • Jim Sergent and Mark Medina of USA Today take an interesting visual look at how the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus has taken shape, breaking down many of the protocols in place to ensure player safety.
  • Having obtained a memo from the league, Fred Katz of The Athletic details many of the off-the-court entertainment options available to players at the Disney campus, including boating, golfing, and bowling.

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