Timberwolves, Mayo Clinic Spearheading COVID-19 Antibody Testing in NBA

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 20, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS - FEBRUARY 21:  The Minnesota Timberwolves logo is displayed on the court prior to the game against the San Antonio Spurs on February 21, 2008 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Spurs won 100-99. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2008 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Dr. Robby Sikka, Minnesota Timberwolves Vice President of Basketball Performance and Technology, and the Mayo Clinic have partnered to lead "a league-wide study that aims to establish what percentage of NBA players, coaches, executives and staff have developed antibodies against the coronavirus," according to ESPN's Malika Andrews.

The Mayo Clinic is headquartered in Rochester, Minnesota—around an hour-and-a-half away from the Timberwolves' Target Center.

"We are learning about this disease," Sikka told Andrews. "We have learned a lot in two months. So, if we can take the next two months, learn on the fly, mitigate risk, then we can move pretty quickly to do the right things to have safe play."

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported May 4 that the NBA was going to participate in an antibody study, with The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski adding that the Timberwolves "will be one of the first teams" to do so:

The Timberwolves organization was directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic when All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns lost his 58-year-old mother, Jacqueline Towns, to complications from COVID-19 on April 13.

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Prior to that, Towns had donated $100,000 to the Mayo Clinic:

The NBA began its indefinite suspension of the 2019-20 season March 12.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver reportedly established a timeline for a decision about whether to return last week:

Teams were granted permission to reopen their respective practice facilities May 8. As of Monday, 17 teams had done so:

Per CNN, the United States has 1,528,568 positive COVID-19 cases that have resulted in 91,921 deaths.

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