Timberwolves to Open Team Facility for Individual Workouts Amid COVID-19

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2020

Minnesota Timberwolves' D'Angelo Russell reacts to the action in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks, Sunday, March 1, 2020, in Minneapolis. Dallas won 111-91. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Stacy Bengs/Associated Press

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced Wednesday they will reopen their practice facility for voluntary workouts beginning Thursday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

They laid out nine guidelines that will be followed, led by the building being locked down for all other staffers, media members and the general public. They will also use contact tracing based on the players' outside movement and provide premade meals to players who enter the practice center.

Here are the other key bullet points from the press release:

  • One coach and one player will be allowed on the floor at a time and parties will be required to keep a 12-foot social distance.
  • Workouts will be limited to 45 minutes.
  • Locker room, weight room, offices and other areas of the building will remain closed.
  • Staff members will wear gloves and masks at all times when in the building. Players will wear masks at all times except when on court.
  • A thorough cleaning of all spaces and equipment, including basketballs, will take place before and after each player uses the building.
  • Symptom and temperature checks will be done by team medical staff before anyone enters the facility.

"The safety of players, staff and community is paramount. The Timberwolves are committed to adhering to public health guidelines and government directives intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19," the team said in a statement.

The update comes after the Wolves confirmed a partnership with Minnesota's Mayo Clinic to conduct a league-wide study to determine what percentage of the NBA population—players, coaches, executives and staff—have developed coronavirus antibodies as the league attempts to resume the 2019-20 season.

"We are learning about this disease," Dr. Robby Sikka, the team's vice president of basketball performance and technology, told ESPN's Malika 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."

Although teams around the country have started to resume workouts, the next month remains crucial in determining whether the league can safely finish the campaign.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported last week that NBA commissioner Adam Silver said on a conference call with the Board of Governors he wants to make a final decision by mid-June.

If the action does resume, players would likely be stationed in one of two "bubble" cities, with Las Vegas and the Disney World complex in Orlando being the lead contenders, to play the remainder of the games without fans in attendance at the outset, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has been a vocal proponent of finding a way to finish the season:

LeBron James @KingJames

Saw some reports about execs and agents wanting to cancel season??? That’s absolutely not true. Nobody I know saying anything like that. As soon as it’s safe we would like to finish our season. I’m ready and our team is ready. Nobody should be canceling anything. 👑

James' Lakers (49-14) and the Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) were leading their respective conferences when play was halted March 11.

The Timberwolves owned the NBA's third-worst record at 19-45.