PHOENIX SUNS

NBA tells teams vaccinated players won’t need regular tests

Sep 2, 2021, 11:22 AM
General view before Game Five of the NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns at...
General view before Game Five of the NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center on July 17, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Fully vaccinated NBA players and coaches are not expected to be subject to regular coronavirus testing this season, the league told its teams Thursday.

Exceptions to that policy will include situations such as a player or coach showing symptoms generally associated with the coronavirus or being exposed to an unvaccinated player who tests positive for COVID-19.

Those who are not fully vaccinated will need to be tested on all days involving practice or travel and likely will be tested twice on game days. They’ll also have to wear masks at team facilities and during travel.

And everyone, regardless of vaccination status, will be expected to submit to an antibody test before the season “to better identify individuals with a limited or waning immune response to vaccination,” the league said.

It is still unclear if players will need to be tested on off days, the league said.

Players, vaccinated or not, who return a positive or inconclusive test result again will be required to isolate immediately. It would likely be for 10 days if those test results are eventually confirmed as positive.

Teams will likely have to arrange seating in almost all situations — travel, meals, meetings, even locker-room setups — to ensure that players who are not fully vaccinated are not seated directly next to another player.

Earlier this week, the NBA told teams that in response to local regulations in New York and San Francisco teams, they would be required to be vaccinated unless exemptions for medical or religious reasons apply. The league also told teams that visiting teams would be exempt from those requirements in both cities but that the rules would apply to home teams, meaning the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors.

The league has already told teams that anyone working within 15 feet of players, coaches and referees this season must be fully vaccinated. NBA referees who work games will also be fully vaccinated this season.

Training camps begin on Sept. 28.

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