Buddy Hield, Jabari Parker and now Alex Len have tested positive for coronavirus.
After it was reported on Tuesday that Nikola Jokic had tested positive for COVID-19 in Serbia and that his return to the United States would be delayed, Wednesday brought more reports of positive test results.
According to The Athletic‘s Shams Charania, two Sacramento Kings — Buddy Hield and the recently acquired Jabari Parker — have tested positive (Parker announced his result earlier in the day, saying that he’s recovering and feeling well). It was also reported on Wednesday that Malcolm Brogdon had coronavirus, though thankfully the Indiana Pacers guard said he’s feeling well.
Brogdon and Parker still intend on joining their respective teams in the Orlando bubble at the end of July to resume the 2019-20 NBA season. It’s unclear if Hield is symptomatic at this time.
UPDATE: Kings center Alex Len has also tested positive for COVID-19. In a released statement, he thanked the Kings for their care and the NBA for putting the testing protocol in place to allow him to catch this early. Len has entered isolation and looks forward to rejoining his teammates for Sacramento’s playoff push.
Add Buddy Hield, Jabari Parker and Alex Len to an expanding list.
Positive COVID-19 tests should be no surprise for the league at this point, nor will they impede the NBA’s plans to resume the season. The initial testing phase has just begun, and the whole point of this phase is to identify which players will need to quarantine before they can resume basketball activities.
These aren’t the first known cases either, since Jokic and two unnamed Phoenix Suns had been reported as testing positive for COVID-19 by various media outlets this week alone. That, of course, is without mentioning Marcus Smart, two unnamed Los Angeles Lakers, Kevin Durant and three other Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, Christian Wood, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, all of whom have contracted coronavirus at some point over the last few months.
The biggest problem for the league’s restart plans will be what happens when players start testing positive within the Orlando bubble, especially in a potential outbreak scenario. This is to say nothing of the potential long-term effects of this virus, which we currently know very little about.
For now, though, basketball fans should brace themselves for this list of confirmed cases to grow longer over the next few weeks. It won’t be stopping the 2020 NBA Playoffs from happening, and while it feels like overkill to keep track of every new case that comes in, it’s something worth monitoring with the health of these players at stake.