Tim Reynolds/Associated Press
The NBA and NBPA announced Wednesday no players tested positive for COVID-19 for the second consecutive round of testing inside the NBA bubble near Orlando, Florida.
In a joint statement the two organizations reported none of the 344 players tested since July 20 yielded a positive result:
The lack of positives is a sign that the bubble approach is working in terms of preventing the contraction and spread of COVID-19, and it suggests that all systems are go for the season restart Thursday when the New Orleans Pelicans face the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers meet the Los Angeles Clippers.
The 2019-20 NBA season was suspended in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, but a restart has been in the works for weeks, and it was determined that a bubble system was the safest way to carry on with the season.
Players aren’t allowed to leave the bubble unless they receive clearance to do so, and upon returning they must self-quarantine and pass multiple COVID-19 tests before rejoining their teams.
Among the players who have left the bubble and returned thus far are New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson, who had a family emergency, and Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams, who attended a funeral.
Those in the bubble are asked to wear masks in certain areas, and social distancing measures are instituted where possible.
Each of the 22 teams invited to the bubble will play eight more regular-season games with the top eight seeds in both conferences competing in the playoffs.
If the ninth-place team in either conference is within four games of the eighth-place team when the regular season ends, they will have an opportunity to qualify for the playoffs if they can beat the eighth-place team twice, although the No. 8 seed only has to beat the No. 9 seed once.
The playoffs will then move forward as normal with the lone exception being that no fans will be in attendance.
The 2020 NBA Finals are scheduled to end in October, and they will be followed by the NBA draft and free agency shortly thereafter.