In counties where coronavirus tests are available to health professionals at risk, NBA teams that open voluntary exercise facilities will be able to administer tests to asymptomatic players and staff, sources told ESPN.
As team facilities reopen in the coming days and weeks, organizations like Orlando Magic, LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers they should be among the teams authorized to perform coronavirus tests on all players and staff entering the facility for individual exercises – regardless of whether they have symptoms, sources said.
The NBA recently informed teams of a "limited exception" to guidelines that prohibit testing of asymptomatic individuals in this preliminary phase of players returning to practice facilities. Essentially, the NBA will approve a written authorization from a local health authority that confirms a "robust testing program for health professionals at risk" in the team's community, sources said.
Among the teams that opened facilities on Friday, including Cleveland and Portland, these testing options were not available, sources said. Trail Blazers and Cavaliers are among the teams planning to participate in the Mayo Clinic Coronavirus Antibody Study – a partnership with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association – that will provide confidential test results to players within two days after the clinic receives samples , said sources. .
The NBA plans to regularly test players for COVID-19 after a formal resumption of the season, but the league has been reluctant in these voluntary hour-long training scenarios to have a perception that the NBA is unnecessarily using tests that would otherwise could serve those most at risk in a community.
Teams will follow several protocols when players return to the facility for these practices, including taking temperatures, sources said.
For franchises and players concerned with protecting re-entry facilities, this can alleviate security concerns and increase participation in programs.
Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban told The Athletic Dallas Podcast this week, in part, that: "The problem obviously is that since we cannot test people, we cannot guarantee the safety of anyone, whether they are basketball players or anyone else" .