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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 14, 2020
he Toronto Raptors are in a voluntary two-week lockdown as a precautionary measure following their road game in Utah on Monday night.
Their opponents, the Jazz, have since confirmed two positive cases of COVID-19.
The first positive test came Wednesday evening in Oklahoma City, where the team was supposed to play the Thunder. Centre Rudy Gobert was that first positive test.
In light of that positive test, the NBA made the historic decision to suspend the season.
Following Gobert’s positive test, the rest of the team was tested and shooting guard Donovan Mitchell was also positive for the virus.
Toronto flew home Monday night and members of the team attended two public functions, but the team is reassuring those who did come in contact with team members that does not require any action on their part at this time.
“According to Toronto Public Health, being in close contact with someone who does not have COVID-19, but was exposed to someone with COVID-19, does not constitute a risk for getting COVID-19 and does not require public health follow-up. People who attended these events should continue to monitor their health, practice social distancing and hand-washing, and contact a health professional should they develop symptoms,” the Raptors issued as part of a release.
The entire travelling party has been tested and when those tests are finalized the Raptors will issue a further statement.
The same group has also been advised to go into self-isolation for 14 days, limiting any contact with the public.
Teams not in self-isolation do have the freedom to practice and will do so in the interim. But there will be no games for the foreseeable future.
How long this will last really is up to how long it takes or even if the coronavirus pandemic can be neutralized.
The NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer have all announced suspension of their leagues until further notice. The NCAA has cancelled all winter and spring sports championships including the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament. The Toronto Rock of the NLL have also put their season on hold.
There are reports already that the NBA shutdown will be 30 days minimum. The NHL will likely follow that lead. Major League Baseball shut down spring training as of 4 p.m Thursday and have pushed the start of the regular-season schedule back at least two weeks.
Former Raptors head coach, now the head coach in Detroit summed up the unique events of the past 24 hours nicely.
“It’s something that’s unprecedented,” Casey told the Athletic. “It’s always been where you could lean on sports to ease your nerves or ease the situation. But now, we’re just like everyone else.”
Five teams besides the Jazz will be undergoing terms of self isolation over the next two weeks but so far the Raptors are the only team to commit to the 14-day isolation ban most health bodies are suggesting.
The Celtics announced that players and traveling staff will self-quarantine through the weekend and testing will be done on all players as well as staff who were in close contact with the Jazz players or exhibit symptoms.
The Pistons announced that all players and traveling staff will self-quarantine until further notice.
The Cavs, meanwhile, who last played the Jazz on March 2 issued a statement saying there would in fact be no self-quarantining for them because none of their players are symptomatic.
“There have been many reports and much speculation regarding quarantining and precautionary measures currently being taken by our team and our organization. To be clear, none of our players have experienced COVID-19 symptoms thus far. Should any of our players or basketball staff experience symptoms, they will be tested and undergo self-quarantine.
“Under the advisement of our medical experts, with league support, we are not currently under a mandatory quarantine. All employees are being advised on how to seek medical attention should they feel ill and experience symptoms, which can include being tested and self-quarantined.”
Late Thursday afternoon word leaked out via Shams Charania that the NBA had established a policy that would apply to all 30 teams for the duration of the suspension:
— Players must remain in the local market they play in.
— Players remain in their homes as long as possible.
— No team practices or workouts.
— Players must be in daily contact with team doctors and trainers.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
OK now for some total speculation.
Somewhere within the bowels of the NBA league offices, personnel are devising schedules based on potential return dates from this Coronavirus-mandated schedule suspension.
Here are a handful of potential scenarios that could play out.
1. World Health Officials suggest the coronavirus has been more or less contained and the league decides to pick up right where they left off and complete the regular-season schedule. The playoffs start at the conclusion of that period and the season extends well into the summer.
PROS: There is a full NBA season. No team can claim to have been denied an opportunity by a shortened season to turn things around.
CONS: The season extends into late July at least, August at worst, denying players of much of an off-season and cutting into potential Olympic qualifying and Olympic participation, if that isn’t already jeopardized.
2. The league gets the go-ahead to resume play and opts, because it has been a month, to just begin the playoffs based on standings at the point when the season was suspended.
PROS: This sets up a scenario where the league could finish at about the same anticipated time when the 2019-20 season began, assuming the suspension is lifted after four weeks. Locally and selfishly the Raptors go into the Eastern Conference playoffs as the No. 2 seed.
CONS: Teams like the Trail Blazers, Kings, Pelicans and Spurs, who are within four games of a playoff spot, are denied the opportunity to reach the playoffs, tainting the entire season.
3. The league gets the go-ahead to resume play, finishes off the regular schedule and shortens the playoff series currently at best-of-seven to best-of-five scenarios.
PROS: Integrity of the regular season is maintained and the shortened playoff run keeps the league from going too deep into the summer.
CONS: Playoffs probably still extend into July and the best part of the NBA season is condensed.
4. The league opts to mothball the season and the playoff run cancelling the remainder of the 2020 season.
PROS: Well, at least the players will be fresh for 2021. Lesser chance that the pandemic spikes. Again, locally and selfishly, the Raptors reign as defending champs is extended.
CONS: No more NBA basketball until next October.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020