With the NBA’s latest measures closing practice facilities entirely, any fantasy prospect of a speedy return to action for the Milwaukee Bucks is gone.
The NBA season is not coming back any time soon. For most that was likely obvious from the moment the NBA season was suspended after those dramatic scenes from Oklahoma City, but if it wasn’t, the league’s latest measures should make that clear.
While there was obvious hope, and plenty of financial motivation, to find a way for a speedy resumption, the larger view at how the coronavirus crisis is currently affecting the world, and the fact it’s only going to get worse before it gets better, made that eventuality something of a long shot.
With the latest reports and team statements on Thursday, the number of confirmed positive tests in the NBA among players, staff, and team officials already stands at 14. As the virus continues to become more pervasive in society at large, that number is only set to rise too.
Beyond the obvious, there are other obstacles to the NBA’s return, and they were only made more significant with news of the NBA’s latest policy update, which it’s worth noting is the right move for all involved.
With players having already been prohibited from working out in groups, the league’s precautions went a step further on Thursday as they are now forbidden from working out individually at team practice facilities, or any public facilities, as ESPN’s Tim Bontemps outlined:
“Now, though, players are both not allowed to use team facilities or, as laid out in a memo sent out by the league Sunday night, work out at any non-team practice or training facilities — essentially leaving players no choice but to attempt to work out at home as they, and the league, try to figure out what the next steps will be.”
As Bontemps also noted, the NBA will also continue to recommend its players remain in their home market, while leaving North America remains out of the question.
“The league continues to recommend that players remain in their team’s home market and to leave their homes only when they absolutely must, such as to go grocery shopping or get medicine. A ban on players leaving North America remains in effect.”
With these restrictions making life much more difficult for players to stay even close to their regular sharpness and game shape, any prospect of a quick return even when things start to clear up would seem slim, as players and teams will likely need something akin to a mini-preseason before ramping up into the intensity of NBA games once again.
That’s without even considering the possibility of the NBA ultimately opting to jump directly to the playoffs, if and when it’s safe to return.
Of course, with all of this, the prospects of the season not being completed at all becomes a little bit more likely by the day. It’s not something that anyone in the NBA would like to imagine, and it’s certainly not something that Milwaukee Bucks fans will be looking to spend too much time considering, but it is a symbol of these very uncertain times we’re all living in.