The NBA has told its teams to close training and practice facilities to all players and staff starting Friday, saying the shuttering will last indefinitely in the latest response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The league told teams of the new directive in a memo sent Thursday afternoon, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press. As recently as Monday, the NBA was telling teams that individual workouts could take place using what the league called the “one player, one coach, one basket” rule.
Now, that’s not even permitted. If players are going to work out during the league’s shutdown, they’ll have to do it at home or some other private facility.
The NBA said it was updating the guidelines “in light of the rapidly-developing coronavirus situation, and consistent with evolving advice from health experts regarding how to promote individual and public health while minimizing the spread of the virus.”
It further recommended that players “should take aggressive measures to avoid contact with others and remain home as much as possible, leaving only for essential activities.”
The league described those activities as “buying food, medicine, or other necessary supplies; obtaining critical medical services; providing necessary care for a family member in another household; or attending to some other emergency.”
Entering Thursday, the NBA had seven players — four from the Brooklyn Nets, two from the Utah Jazz and one from the Detroit Pistons — known to have tested positive for COVID-19. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN on Wednesday that eight teams have been tested; not all of those teams have publicly acknowledged testing, so it is possible that the number of positives among NBA players could be higher.