But if you thought the timeline for the season was the only aspect being affected by the coronavirus, think again. The bubble is no longer, but the league is still being as cautious as possible with its latest protocols. In a 158-page Health and Safety Memo obtained by ESPN, the NBA wants to “conduct unannounced in-person inspections of team facilities” to make sure players and personnel around the league are as safe as possible as not to cause a breakout.
The league is so serious that if a player violates the rules, they “may be subject to a proportionate adjustment to pay for any games missed during the period that the player is in quarantine and undergoing testing due to engaging in such activities and/or conduct.”
But worse than just getting sidelined for games, failure to adhere to guidelines can also lead to “fines, suspensions, adjustment or loss of draft choices and game forfeitures.”
With more than a quarter-million Americans dead because of the virus, the NBA is doing its best to entertain but still keep its staff safe. Most NBA players are in amazing shape, so they likely recover quickly if they’ve got the coronavirus. However, people like Karl-Anthony Towns have had several family members –including his mother– succumb to the deadly infection. While some NBA players are asymptomatic, Mo Bamba is still suffering from long hauler syndrome despite recovering six months ago.
After testing negative, he reported to the NBA Bubble but could not play; he still had no sense of taste, smell, and constant muscle fatigue.
“There’s no real timetable for him to be able to come back and fully participate,” Magic coach Steve Clifford told The Athletic’s Josh Robbins. “I think that he’ll be able to do some things that are more organizational and everything. But he’s a ways away, and there’s no timetable on his return.”
Once the FDA approves a vaccine, the league is committed to discussing with its staff to determine vaccination protocol.