NBA Rumor: Coronavirus Infections

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The Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA Finals coincided with a spike in COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County, and it’s “highly likely” watch parties held by Lakers fans and the victory celebration outside of Staples Center contributed to the spike, the L.A. County Department of Public Health said. That has fueled concerns of another potential spike in COVID-19 transmission rates because the Los Angeles Dodgers are one victory away from winning their first World Series title in 32 years.

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Mo Bamba had coronavirus in June

In the last several months, Mo Bamba has employed his platform as a professional athlete to encourage children to stay in school, urge adults to vote in the upcoming election and ask people to donate money to provide food for children, the elderly and frontline workers in need. And now, he’s imploring you to do something else. Something he has learned from painful experience. He wants you to take precautions against the coronavirus. On Thursday, Bamba revealed to The Athletic that he suffered from COVID-19 in June.

He tried to piece together how he had contracted the virus, concluding that it probably happened on the road trip in New York, Boston or Detroit. He wondered how it was possible that other members of the Jazz didn’t test positive given that he shared locker rooms with his teammates and received massages from team staffers. As he recovered, he concluded that he probably wasn’t the first NBA player to contract the virus — just the first to return a positive test. He might have been careless with the microphones, but Mitchell or Wood easily could have exposed him to the virus rather than the other way around.

Sacramento’s starting small forward tested positive for the coronavirus over the Fourth of July weekend and struggled to clear the NBA’s protocol, but he never had symptoms. That was not the case for his wife Brittany or his mother Shirley, who were both with him in Sacramento. “In my household, my wife and my mom both tested positive for COVID,” Barnes said following the Kings’ 106-102 win over the Clippers. “My wife was sick, really sick for about a week, my mom was sick for a couple of days. In our household, we were able to see the different ranges of how COVID can hurt your system, how serious it is, and how important it is to wear a mask.”

The Wizards and Nuggets have a scrimmage at 3:30 Wednesday afternoon. The Nuggets have been decimated during this pandemic, with a confirmed case for their star Nikola Jokic, who has returned to practice, while rotation players Gary Harris, Torrey Craig, Monte Morris, and Michael Porter Jr. are either not with the team or have arrived (late) to Florida and can’t yet play. Coach Michael Malone has said they haven’t had enough players to work 5-on-5 situations at practice. Sources say as many as nine inside Denver’s basketball operation contracted the virus.

The Suns announced Wednesday guards Elie Okobo and rookie Jalen Lecque also are not with the team at Walt Disney World Resort for “personal reasons.” Team officials also said they expect Baynes, Lecque and Okobo to join the team at “a later date.” Sources have informed The Republic a third Suns player has tested positive for the virus. A previously infected person has to have at least two consecutive negative tests to join the team and then clear quarantine once in the bubble.

Exactly one month before announcing he’s tested positive for COVID-19, Russell Westbrook was hanging poolside at Encore Beach Club at Wynn Las Vegas. Westbrook was with a group of friends, including former NFL running back Reggie Bush, fashion jeweler Greg Yuna, bodybuilders and trainers Mike Rashid and Valeriu Guto and Wynn club host Jai Shaun White at the outdoor dayclub on June 13. The group posed for a photo at one of the party space’s VIP bungalows.

Responding to a question asking if Westbrook had contracted the virus at the hotel, Wynn Las Vegas referred to company policy that it does not disclose personal information about guests. Generally, the statement read: “Any guest diagnosed with COVID-19 while visiting the resort is reported to the Southern Nevada Health District, which conducts community contact tracing. Our internal contact tracing determines who in the resort the guest has had contact with and what areas they visited; relevant contacts are informed for testing and the areas visited are thoroughly sanitized.

In a virtual interview with Fortune Brainstorm Health, Silver said the NBA expects more positive coronavirus cases to pop up as teams arrive to the NBA campus at Walt Disney World resort this week. But once teams arrive, all personnel will be tested and must quarantine for at least two days. “We won’t be surprised when they first come down to Orlando if we have some additional players test positive,” Silver told Fortune Brainstorm Health. “What would be most concerning is once players enter this campus and then go through our quarantine period, then if they were to test positive or if we were to have any positive tests, we would know we would have an issue.” “… We would know that there’s in essence a hole in our bubble or that our quarantine or our campus is not working in some way,” Silver added later. “So that would be very concerning.”

Silver said the NBA’s campus with daily testing and guidance from medical experts is “as protected as possible from the environment around us.” “So on paper, and dealing with our experts, this should work,” Silver said. “But we shall see. I’m confident based on the positive cases we are seeing from our players and the general public around the country that it will be safer on this campus than off this campus in part because we are going to be doing daily testing. But again this virus has humbled many so I am not going to express any higher level of confidence than we are following the protocols and we hope it works as we designed it.”

Silver reiterated that the league likely will not be forced to shut down again due to one potential positive coronavirus test inside campus. However, a spread could bring the NBA to a halt again. “I think we do have the ability to trace, of course to try to understand where that positive case came from,” Silver said of any positive cases inside the Walt Disney World campus. “We can actually analyze the virus itself and try to track whether if there is more than one case, if it’s in essence the same virus and same genetic variation of the virus that is passed from one player to another or two people have gotten it on the campus independently. So those are all things that we are looking at.”

(The Bucks) had to shut down their facility over the weekend because of positive test. How much of a concern is that for the team that is right now the favor to win at all? Malika Andrews: I checked in with a source with the Bucks and they just told me that they are mostly bummed about the timing. They are not expected to open the facility again before they traveled to Orlando this week. And for a lot of guys, these last two weeks they’ve actually been able to be inside the practice facility is the first time they’ve been able to touch a basketball in a while.

The WNBA announced Monday that seven of 137 (5.1%) tested players were positive for COVID-19, and that 11 of the league’s 12 teams will report to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. for its season start-up by the end of the day. The one exception in that travel schedule is the Indiana Fever. After sustaining two positive tests in their organization, the Fever’s travel will be delayed at least five days “in an abundance of caution due to the CDC’s close contact self-quarantine requirements,” according to a statement from the league.

Spencer Dinwiddie: Protocol only calls for 7 days and negative tests not the 14 day standard. Yep, the plan would be to fly to Orlando after workout. For players that show up late, it might make it difficult to resume season at all due to more rigorous testing requirements.

The WNBA announced Monday that seven of 137 (5.1%) tested players were positive for COVID-19, and that 11 of the league’s 12 teams will report to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. for its season start-up by the end of the day. The one exception in that travel schedule is the Indiana Fever. After sustaining two positive tests in their organization, the Fever’s travel will be delayed at least five days “in an abundance of caution due to the CDC’s close contact self-quarantine requirements,” according to a statement from the league.

Marks confirmed that Spencer Dinwiddie may not be playing in Orlando because he recently tested positive for coronavirus. Dinwiddie, who remains on the Nets’ 36-person travel list, told The Athletic that he is not sure if he will join the team when the season resumes later this month. “I would hope these guys decide to do what’s best for them and for their health and family first and foremost. If they decide to go to Orlando, we know we’ll be taking best care possible of them,” Marks said. “But at the end of the day it goes back to what I said before: Everybody has a different set of circumstances in their life that they’re dealing with whether that’s family issues or the health and wellness of themselves. And we need to support those guys whatever decision that they make.”


Nikola Jokic feeling 'great'

Denver Nuggets All-Star center Nikola Jokic is feeling “great” and is expected to return to the United States in time to join the team flight to Orlando, Florida, according to coach Michael Malone. Jokic had his return to Denver delayed after testing positive for the coronavirus in Serbia, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst reported on June 23. “Nikola feels great,” Malone said in a Zoom call with reporters on Wednesday. “We are working on getting him back here. Next Tuesday we depart for Orlando; the hope and expectation is that Nikola Jokic will be with us on that plane. From everything that I have heard and talked to him, he feels great, he feels fine and is excited to get back.”

Spencer Dinwiddie: Just to be clear I haven’t opted out and want to play like I told @ShamsCharania . Unfortunately I have been one of the cases that has various symptoms.

Kellan Olson: Devin Booker confirmed the report of a couple Suns players testing positive for COVID-19 on his stream (twitch.tv/dbook). He said they are getting tested every two days and for today’s they came to his house.

Jokic's father: 'Nikola is fine'

Branislav Jokic talked to Nova.rs about his son, Nikola Jokic, testing positive for coronavirus. The Denver Nuggets player is fine and with his family, his father pointed out confirming that the 25-year-old Serbian center found out he was coronavirus positive last week and that he has not shown any symptoms. “We are all fine. Nikola is fine. It’s been a week,” he mentioned, “What he had is gone. He is not showing symptoms. He is with us and everything is fine.”

Two Suns players test positive for COVID-19

Two Phoenix Suns players have tested positive for coronavirus, sources have informed The Arizona Republic. The positive tests led to Suns temporarily shutting down voluntary workouts at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, sources say. Mikal Bridges, Elie Okobo, Frank Kaminsky III, Dario Saric, Jevon Carter, Aron Baynes, Jalen Lecque and Cheick Diallo have participated in them based on a video the team posted earlier this month in their “Don’t Sleep on Basketball” series. The players were having workouts at the arena Tuesday morning. There has been a notable increase in COVID-19 cases in Arizona.

The Republic reported Monday that according to state data, more than 1,000 new cases have been reported on each of the past 13 days, with more than 2,000 new cases reported on each of the past five days. Mandatory testing is scheduled to begin Tuesday for NBA players and essential staff members of each team. Phoenix’s third-leading scorer, Kelly Oubre Jr., has opted not to play due to injury as he had knee surgery March 3. Players have until Wednesday to notify teams that they’re not participating in the season resumption, according to The Athletic.

Adrian Wojnarowski: As coronavirus testing for players heading to Orlando starts today, teams are bracing for significant numbers of positive tests. One Western Conference playoff team had four positives in past few weeks, per sources. Full training camps start on July 11 at Disney. It’s a bigger concern for non-guaranteed playoff teams to lose players to extended quarantine before Orlando. Playoff teams worried less about needing key players for seeding games in August have more time to get players back to shape. All are worried about soft-tissue injuries.

Nuggets all-star center Nikola Jokic may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for coronavirus during a recent visit to his native Serbia. Pictures show Jokic in close proximity to Nikola Jankovic, a center for KK Partizan, during last Thursday’s exhibition game honoring coach Dejan Milojevic in Belgrade. On Monday, Jankovic’s professional team announced he had tested positive for the virus. A picture in the following tweet shows Jankovic “Janker” standing to Jokic’s right.

Michele Roberts prepared for players testing positive for COVID-19

Michele Roberts told the Globe the NBPA is prepared for several players to test positive just because of the contagiousness of the virus, regardless of the league’s safety measures and social distancing. “Of course [the players] understand it could be a positive test and they want to know what the protocol is,” Roberts said this past week. “No one is saying, ‘Suppose a player tests positive?’ We’re beyond that. The question now is, ‘When a player tests positive, what are we going to do?’ ”

“That’s the only realistic mind-set you can have going into this. A player is going to test positive,” Roberts said. “It’s not any more of this ‘if’, it’s ‘when’ and what can I do to mitigate against the ‘when.’ When it happens, if I’m not successful, what treatment is available to me, what are my chances of being really, really sick, and how are you detecting the presence of an infection? Honestly, I don’t think this is any different than what any American has to come to grips with.”

Roberts said no player is being mandated to play and there will be no repercussions — besides financially — if a player decides to sit out the season. “I don’t believe any player would say this was forced upon them, it’s not,” she said. “Not a single player has to play. This is not involuntary servitude. I don’t have to work. They don’t have to work. But it’s of course a mitigation of risk with the players. On this health and safety protocol, I’m satisfied that it can’t be any better than this. But I’m candid that it’s not bulletproof.”

Several other aspects of the NBA’s return were discussed, which The Athletic learned via sources: – A plan to play 2-to-3 exhibition games before regular season – 1,600 maximum people on campus – Coronavirus testing every day; minimum seven days of quarantine for a player who tests positive – Players and family must stay inside the bubble; families can enter after the first round – If a player contracts the virus, the NBA says they plan to continue playing

Would you be okay playing with or against a guy that you knew tested positive for COVID19?” “Curry: Oh that’d be tough. I mean, that’s one of the things that you’re having to address because that is a real scenario. If you try to play and there is no vaccine, there’s no way to really guarantee nobody’s going to get it. I think if you are at a place where everybody says yeah we’re ready to play and then they know what they’re committing to. And if not, it doesn’t make sense, then you won’t see a ball bounce.”
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Pau Gasol eyeing Laker return?

Unfortunately, Marc didn’t have any breaking news regarding that prospect during his interview with Allie Cliffton of Spectrum SportsNet on Wednesday, but he did say that Pau would almost certainly welcome a reunion with the Lakers if the opportunity presented itself: “I’m not a very social media guy, but I know Pau loves L.A. and loves the Lakers. Obviously he feels like it’s home, so I’m sure that he would love to come back, but that’s question for Rob and ownership.”
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