Just like society as a whole, when the NBA starts to re-open facilities to players things are not instantly going to go back to normal.
While some local jurisdictions are moving faster, the NBA has said facilities have to remain closed until at least May 8 as the NBA works to keep some competitive balance. When team training facilities do open, at first it will only be for individual workouts, not team practices or scrimmages. Only four players at a time will be allowed in the facilities, and no coaches (head or assistant) can be present. There are other restrictions as well.
What will those workouts even look like? A Laker team conference call with players gave some hints, as reported by Dave McMenamin at ESPN.
Some of the Lakers’ planned precautionary measures include players having their temperatures taken while they are in their cars when they arrive at the facility and answering questions to a designated medical professional before being granted access to the building…
Anyone the Lakers players will encounter at the practice facility will be required to wear a mask and gloves, and the designated rebounder for each player will wear gloves and sterilized sneakers, sources said…
Hand-washing stations will be put in place. The weight room will be rearranged to allow for more space between equipment. Food service in the players’ lounge will be revamped to provide meals in individual containers, rather than through a buffet presentation.
And that is just part of the list. Of course, everyone in the facility will be wearing a mask and gloves, save for the players while working out.
Does that seem extreme? Maybe, but teams are smart to error on the side of caution — bring in one player with the disease who gets up some shots, hits the weight room, then things aren’t properly sterilized and soon other players are fighting the disease.
Not mentioned in that scenario is testing, which the Lakers will not require to workout, according to the report.
However, if the NBA is going to restart the season — or, more likely, just the playoffs — in a bubble in Las Vegas or Orlando or wherever, extensive testing of players, coaches, trainers, and everyone around the team will be required. The ability to have that kind of testing — and not be taking tests or medical personnel away from where they are needed — will be one of the core criteria for restarting play, even without fans.