The NBA players who’ve already expressed concern about catching COVID-19 when play resumes next month have even more reason to fret.
On Friday, June 26, the NBA and the players union said that 16 of the 302 players in the league tested for the novel coronavirus last week tested positive. The news comes days before teams are supposed to start training camp in Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort, and nearly a month before the season resumes with 22 of the 30 league teams playing at the Florida resort.
The players have to be tested every other day before they can arrive in Florida on July 7, a protocol that was established by the NBA.
The last test was on Tuesday, June 23, resulting in the 16 new cases. The league will officially resume its season on July 30.
Those players with positive test results will have to self-isolate and will be able to practice with their teams once they’re cleared by a doctor.
The league didn’t announce which players tested positive, but on Wednesday, June 24, Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdom said he contracted the virus.
“I’m doing well, feeling well and progressing well,” he said in a statement tweeted by the Pacers. “I plan to rejoin my teammates in Orlando for the resumption of the NBA season and playoffs.”
Sacramento Kings forward Jabari Parker also announced on Wednesday that he tested positive and in a statement said, “I am progressing in my recovery and feeling well.”
News of the 16 NBA players testing positive comes amid reports of Florida having a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.
The Florida Department of Health reported there were 8,942 new cases in Florida as of Friday, June 26. That number represents the highest increase of single-day cases in Florida since March, when numbers were first tallied.
It was recently reported that some NBA players were hesitant about resuming play. Some were concerned about catching the coronavirus, others believe that playing would take away attention from the continued protests for racial equality.
The National Basketball Players Association sent out a memo to players earlier this month that said they can choose not to participate this season and won’t be disciplined but their pay would still be reduced according to the number of games missed.