2 Warriors Players Test Positive for COVID-19; Practice Postponed Until Monday

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2020

FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2019, file photo, the Golden State Warriors championship banners hang above the seating and basketball court at the Chase Center in San Francisco. Officials have banned large gatherings and events in the Seattle metro area and in San Francisco to try to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. Wednesday, the San Francisco mayor banned gatherings of 1,000 or more people, including Golden State Warriors games. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
Eric Risberg/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers announced Tuesday two members of the team tested positive for COVID-19.

Practices are allowed to begin Sunday, but the Warriors are delaying their start until next Monday because of the positive tests.

The players in question could be eligible to return by the time the regular season tips off Dec. 22.

Under the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols, a player who tests positive has to wait at least 12 days from the positive test or the onset of symptoms before he can return, per The Athletic's Sam Amick and Shams Charania. The player also requires clearance from his team physician and a physician representing the NBA.

The Warriors players in question will be unavailable for Golden State's first preseason game Dec. 12 against the Denver Nuggets.

When Utah Jazz stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert tested positive in March, it was effectively enough to shut the league down indefinitely. The NBA then set up a tightly controlled environment at Walt Disney World Resort to limit any exposure to players, staffers and members of the media.

The health and safety protocols alluded to how the league isn't adopting as stringent an approach for the 2020-21 season:

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"It is likely that some staff, players, and other participants in the 2020-21 season nonetheless will test positive or contract COVID-19, particularly as the virus remains prevalent in particular team markets and surrounding communities. The occurrence of independent cases (i.e., cases not spread among players or team staff) or a small or otherwise expected number of COVID-19 cases will not require a decision to suspend or cancel the 2020-21 season."

The NFL and MLB have staged their seasons at home markets rather than creating a bubble at one or more locations. Multiple teams from both leagues have experienced outbreaks, forcing the postponement and rescheduling of games. The same thing is unfolding in college football as well.

Tuesday's news serves as a reminder of what could be in store for the NBA until a COVID-19 vaccine is distributed on a mass scale.