Zero is the new magic number for the NBA. Since July 13, none of the 346 coronavirus tests taken by players at the league’s Orlando bubble have come back positive.
Previously, the NBA announced that of its initial tests, two out of 322 bubble players tested positive. According to ESPN’s Malika Andrews, players receive two nasal swabs and an oral swab every day. Then, results come back daily.
“They started this testing two weeks before players needed to come down and report to Orlando,” Andrews said. “They have caught COVID cases so that those players have not entered the bubble and then potentially given it to other people.”
Clearly, the NBA’s safety procedure is effective. Andrews also praised the diligence of the league and attention from doctors.
“I had a headache the other day — three doctors checked on me,” Andrews said. “Imagine how much more it is for if there is even a false positive or an inconclusive test.”
NBA players ready for challenges in season completion
Teams will play three intersquad scrimmages before the season resumes. Games start on July 30. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James knows that teams have to make adjustments to the challenges at hand.
For example, the Milwaukee Bucks are without Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton, who both tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, Milwaukee may have to overcome a lack of depth early in the season’s resumption.
“Mike Budenholzer said that he hopes he’s not making a mistake by planning to have those guys back by the time the playoffs roll around,” Andrews said.
Another team in need of added depth is the Indiana Pacers. Domantas Sabonis has a foot injury and will sit out during their first scrimmage. However, the potential return of Victor Oladipo could save the injury-depleted Pacers.
“This is good news, not only from a physical standpoint, but also mentally for this team,” Andrews said.
As for the Lakers, they will aim to maintain James’ growth mentality despite the outside circumstances. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has high expectations for his star player during the playoffs.
“He’s seen how LeBron locks in just a little bit more,” Andrews said. “He imagines that will be even more amplified in the playoffs.”
Sound used in this story courtesy of ESPN and ABC Newscall.