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NBA teams allowed to test asymptomatic players for COVID-19 in approved cities

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media during a news conference in New York, Tuesday, April 29, 2014.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media during a news conference in New York, Tuesday, April 29, 2014.
Kathy Willens, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — In areas where COVID-19 testing is readily available, NBA teams that are reopening practice facilities will be able to test asymptomatic players and staff, according to a report from ESPN.

Teams in cities where restrictions allow for it are now able to open practice facilities for individual, voluntary workouts. In a previous memo sent to teams that laid out health and safety requirements of practice facilities upon reopening, teams were specifically prohibited from testing asymptomatic players and staff.

Teams were recently informed of a “limited exception” to previous guidelines in which the NBA will approve a written authorization from a local health authority that confirms a “robust testing program in place for at-risk health care workers” in the team’s community, sources told ESPN.

The Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Clippers, and Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly expected to be able to administer tests to players and staff upon reopening their facilities.

The Utah Jazz have not opened their practice gym at Zions Bank Basketball Campus as of Friday but are expected to in the coming days.

Jazz executive vice president Dennis Lindsey spoke with reporters on Tuesday and explained that the Jazz will be taking extra precautions beyond what is required by the NBA as well as local and state health officials.

“The biggest goal is to have the confidence of our players and staff that they can enter our facility safely,” Lindsey said. “We are taking it very serious.”

Though players will be able to go back into practice gyms for individual workouts, their activity will be strictly monitored and limited. No more than four players are able to be in the building at a time and social distancing practices must be followed. No group activity or workouts will be allowed and head coaches and general managers are not permitted to view workouts.

Additionally teams are required to consult with infectious disease specialists and have temperature checks for anyone entering the facilities.

Despite restrictions being lifted and NBA gyms opening back up, there are still many that have concerns about the safety and health of the players and staff even with all of the precautions.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban spoke on the “77 Minutes in Heaven” podcast, which aired Wednesday, noting that he wasn’t going to open the Mavericks practice facility even though the stay-at-home orders in the area have been lifted.

“The problem, obviously, is because we can’t test people then we can’t assure anybody’s safety whether they’re basketball players or anybody else,” Cuban said. “And even though we can try to take all different types of precautions, it’s just not worth it.”