A lot has to go right if the NBA is going to pull off its plan of finishing off the 2019-20 season. Most everyone understands that.
But one of the least publicized potential bumps in the road in the league's blueprint involves what happens when one of the players test positive for COVID-19.
Appearing on the Dale & Keefe Show Monday, ESPN's Brian Windhorst surfaced the topic of protocols regarding positive tests, highlighting a potentially unrealistic element within the plan.
"I don’t feel the league has been transparent with that," he said. "I can’t say if they’re doing that on purpose or not. According to the rules in this giant document — and let me tell you, you have to really look in this document. It’s not spelled out on Page 1 — a player that tests positive would not only be quarantined for 14 days but would have no exercise for 14 days. The reason that is important is because they are concerned about the cardiac risks that come along with COVID regardless of whether you show symptoms or not. You would be shut down for 14 days and then at that time you would have to test negative twice over a 24-hour period.
"Obviously, if you're in tip-top athletic condition if you lay in bed or sit in a chair for 14 days you are not going to be able to play in a game on Day 15. You are going to need to ramp back up. ... According to what that handbook says 14 days, no exercise, sit in your room."
Windhorst did throw in the caveat that while this is currently the plan, the actual implementation of regulations during a season might be a fluid situation.
"This is going to be the Wild West," he noted. "I’m going to tell you, I have watched the NBA kind of make this up as it goes along. While I’m going to tell you what is in the document, if you’re going to say to me, ‘Hey, when we get to July is somebody tests positive but is better after a week are they going to let them play?’ I’m not going to sit here and tell you they won’t change their mind, but as right now, 14 days in bed."
The lack of physical activity for any player testing positive is just one of a few hurdles the NBA will be facing, particularly with the cases of COVID-19 on an upswing in the Orlando area of late. Still, as Windhorst points out, nobody should expect the league to deviate from their plan of returning to action on July 31.