The NBA is preparing to converge on Disney World this week for what the league hopes will be a safe end to a season interrupted. Several players don’t seem so confident that the reboot will be safe from the dangers of COVID-19. And at least one doesn’t even think it’s guaranteed the season will end as planned.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram indicated he doesn’t have the highest hopes that the NBA will pull off its big experiment, according to nola.com:
“I’m not that confident about that,” he said. “New cases are coming up. Different things are happening. I’m not very confident. But they’ve got us going to Orlando on [Wednesday], so we’ll see.”
As dark an outlook as that is, it seems to be backed up by the real numbers of the league’s COVID-19 cases.
Cases are indeed coming up in the NBA, with 25 players testing positive since June 23 (as of last Thursday). Seven of the 22 teams heading to Orlando this week — so nearly a third of the Disney World contingent — have had to shut down their practice facilities after positive tests.
Ideally, the number of cases will go down when players are centralized and isolated in Disney World for two weeks, but the NBA’s “bubble” will still have employees moving in and out of the campus, which happens to be in a state that is being hammered by the virus. Just one infection could sideline a whole team and possibly more if not caught in time, and that could throw the whole Disney World plan into limbo.
Ingram added that he didn’t hesitate to join his team in Orlando despite past problems with blood clots:
“It’s been about a year now since that happened,” Ingram said. “Didn’t really cross my mind if I was going to take a chance on going with the blood clot scare. That’s kind of really over with as long as I do the right stuff in the weight room and the training table and everything else.”
Ingram earned his first career All-Star honors this season, averaging 24.3 points per game on .590 true shooting with 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. He is set to hit what could be a lucrative restricted free agency after this season.
The Pelicans will enter Disney World seeking a playoff spot. With eight regular-season games scheduled, the 28-36 Pelicans sit 3.5 games from the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies and plenty of competition for that final spot.
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