After doing a superb job of containing the COVID-19 outbreak in the Orlando Bubble during the 2019-20 NBA season, the league has struggled to repeat the feat this campaign. The last few days have seen multiple matches being canceled, the most recent one being Orlando Magic vs. Boston Celtics. Following the increase of cases, the league has decided to introduce a new set of rules, which we take a look at in the latest NBA News Update.
NBA News Roundup: League introduces protocol changes following increase in positive cases
1) NBA players will no longer be able to interact with guests in hotel rooms while on the road, which was allowed earlier. They also will not be allowed to leave their hotels unless they are going for team activities or if there is an emergency.
2) While playing at home, players and staff will only be allowed to leave their residence for team activities, outdoor exercises, to perform essential duties, and in extraordinary circumstances.
3) For the next two weeks, at least, pre-game locker room meetings will only be allowed for 10 minutes, and with masks. All other meetings will have to be held in areas that can enable teams to maintain an average distance of six feet.
4) Any individual who visits a player or a team staff's residence for professional reasons will have to undergo two COVID-19 tests per week.
5) Players will have to wear masks while sitting on the bench, and the only time they will be allowed to take them off is when they take their places on the 'cool down chairs'. The special seats will be arranged at least 12 feet from the bench and 6 feet apart, and the players can sit on them immediately after leaving the court during a game.
6) Players will only be allowed to fist bump or elbow during the post and pre-game meet and greet, and will have to maintain 6 feet of distance.
There has been a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases among players recently, which has left the league in disarray. The Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, and Dallas Mavericks are some of the worst-hit franchises, and don't even have 8 players to field in matches.
The new protocol is expected to help curb the outbreak and, if followed with discipline, could soon help the NBA conduct the games in the normal fashion.
Published 13 Jan 2021, 02:50 IST