MIAMI – The NBA has pushed back the possible reopening date of some team practice facilities for at least a week until May 8 at the earliest, saying Monday the extra time was needed in part to make sure player training options would be safe and controlled in an effort to try to mitigate the threats caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
And when those facilities reopen, the rules will be strict.
The May 8 date is far from firm, the NBA said, warning teams that it “may push this timing back if developments warrant.” The league planned on giving teams the option of reopening facilities as early as Friday, though ultimately decided more time was needed across the league for many reasons.
But whenever those practice courts open — local government clearance would be needed first in all cases — there will not be an immediate return to normal. A person with knowledge of the league’s plans said players would have to wear face masks inside facilities except when working out, that any staff members present would have to wear face masks and gloves, and that a minimum distance of 12 feet would be required as a buffer between players and staff members working with them.
The exception in that 12-foot case would be when medical or athletic training personnel are in contact with players. The person spoke to the The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the details were not publicly released.
There are numerous other details of the league’s facility-reopening protocols, the person said, including:
— Players who return to their home-team markets from out of town will have to quarantine before being allowed back in the facility.
— All equipment used by players in their voluntary workouts, including basketballs, will have to be disinfected before being used again. Players will not be allowed to share towels, and teams will not be permitted to make steam rooms, saunas, cold tubs, oxygen chambers or cryotherapy chambers at the facilities available.