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Coronavirus: Lakers to get tested for COVID-19 after Kevin Durant, three other Nets test positive, per reports

In light of the fact that superstar Kevin Durant and three other members of the Brooklyn Nets tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday, players on the Los Angeles Lakers will be tested for the virus on Wednesday, according to Brad Turner of the L.A. Times. The players will also undergo a 14-day self-quarantine. 

The Lakers were the last team to play the Nets before the season was indefinitely suspended, as Brooklyn bested Los Angeles 104-102 last Tuesday night. With the Lakers’ tests set to be taken on Wednesday, there’s a chance the results won’t be known until the weekend, at the earliest. 

The Lakers released the following statement on Tuesday: 

Today we were made aware that four players on the Brooklyn Nets have tested positive for COVID-19.We have been in immediate contact with our players and basketball operations staff members since being made aware of this development.

Given the exposure risks from our game against the Nets on March 10th, we are following the next steps of our COVID-19 procedures and protocol that are established in consultation with various health officials, the NBA and our UCLA Health doctors.

The health and well-being of our players, staff, fans, and society in general, is of paramount importance to us, and will continue to be our focus.We appreciate the support of our fans, family and friends, and wish everyone affected by this virus a speedy and healthy recovery.

There are now seven NBA players that have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Rudy Gobert was the first, followed by his Utah Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell and Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood. Because of Gobert’s positive test and due to concerns over the global outbreak, the NBA suspended the 2019-20 season last week. The league remains hopeful of resuming operations in mid-to-late June. Since his positive diagnosis, Gobert has publicly apologized for not taking the situation seriously enough and in turn putting others at risk. 

“I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis…mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment,” Gobert wrote in a social media post. “The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologize to the people that I may have endangered. At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse. I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously. I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as way to educate others and prevent the spread of this virus.”  

While some have been frustrated with the ease with which NBA teams seem to be acquiring the tests considering its lack of widespread availability, NBA spokesman Mike Bass made the argument to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that testing players is essential, saying “Public health authorities and team doctors have been concerned that, given NBA players’ direct contact with each other and close interactions with the general public, in addition to their frequent travel, they could accelerate the spread of the virus. Following two players testing positive last week, others were tested and five additional players tested positive. Hopefully, by these players choosing to make their test results public, they have drawn attention to the critical need for young people to follow CDC recommendations in order to protect others, particularly those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.” Not only are players high risk, but their tests could serve as meaningful PR weapons in the battle to enforce social distancing. 

Obviously, the Lakers are hoping that all of the tests ultimately come back negative. Regardless, the franchise will heed the advice of medical professionals and err on the side of caution by continuing to self-isolate and minimizing outside contact while it awaits word from the league regarding further steps. The story is still developing, and we will likely learn more about the NBA‘s plans regarding how, or if, it plans to proceed with the 2019-20 season in the coming days, and weeks.  

EltasZone Sportswriters, Sports Analysts, Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from The Zone Team
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