As the NBA inches towards a season restart, positive coronavirus tests threaten to undermine their ability to do so.
Three New Orleans Pelicans have tested positive for coronavirus according to Pelicans general manager David Griffin. The players are self-isolating until they are medically cleared to return to team functions.
The players names have not been released citing medical privacy laws.
According to a report by the Associated Press, the positive tests are from June 23 when the league began testing all members of the team in their bid to resume the regular season which was halted in mid-March. The Pelicans are currently scheduled to resume play on July 30 against the Utah Jazz at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex outside of Orlando, Florida.
The team reports that no players have tested positive since then.
“The league has a system in place that was designed to catch these cases. That system worked and we’re just going to deal with it the best we can moving forward,” Griffin said. “The league is relying both on the CDC and their own medical experts and the players’ union medical experts on this, and we’re going to continue to follow those guidelines.”
When the NBA season resumes, the Pelicans will be 3.5 games out of the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. Because of the NBA’s decision to base seeding on winning percentage, New Orleans and Sacramento also are effectively one game behind Portland for the ninth spot. This season, finishing ninth — as well as within four games of eighth — offers a “play-in” opportunity to qualify for the postseason by beating the eighth seed two straight times.
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