48 NBA Players Test Positive for Coronavirus as League Prepares for Return This Month

Any players who test positive for the virus will also have to undergo cardiac testing before being cleared to play, according to ESPN

Adam Silver
Adam Silver. Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty

The NBA announced this week that 48 players have tested positive for coronavirus around the Thanksgiving holiday.

In a joint statement with the National Basketball Players Association, the league said 546 players were tested in late November in preparation for the start of the shortened 72-game season later this month. According to the Associated Press, the 48 positive tests make up nine percent of the total players who were screened.

"NBA players returned to a league-wide testing program over the past week, with testing beginning between Nov. 24-30 depending on the day that a player returned to the team's market," the NBA and NBPA said in the statement. "Of the 546 players tested for COVID-19 during this initial return-to-market testing phase, 48 have returned positive tests."

"Anyone who has returned a confirmed positive test during this initial phase of testing in their team's market is isolated until they are cleared for leaving isolation under the rules established by the NBA and the Players Association in accordance with CDC guidance," the two organizations continued.

Players who tested positive will not be allowed inside team facilities or be permitted to participate in activities until they receive medical clearance from a team-designated physician and a league-designated physician, the AP said.

The Golden State Warriors recently postponed the start of their training camp after two players tested positive for coronavirus, according to Yahoo Sports.

"I'm confident that the league is going to do everything in their power to do things the right way and to protect us, protect the players and the staff. Then, who the hell knows?" Warriors coach Steve Kerr said this week. "I mean, it's 2020. I think we just have to go into it with an open mind and do our best and see what happens."

Because coronavirus has been shown to affect the heart in some cases, players will also have to undergo a cardiac evaluation before participating in practice or games, ESPN reported. With preseason slated to kick off on Dec. 11, there's a chance some players might not be cleared before then.

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"During this pandemic, all this stuff is going to be different this season," Dallas Mavericks player Luka Doncic said on Tuesday, according to the AP.

"Some players might get corona, get sick, not be able to be with the team for 10 days," he added. "So, I think that's going to be a big part — which team is not going to have positive people. It's going to be a lot of time together. I think that's going to be key."

The 2020-2021 season will tentatively kick off the night of Dec. 22 with two games on TNT. The first game will be between the Brooklyn Nets and the Golden State Warriors, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers — the 2020 NBA champions — taking on the L.A. Clippers.

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