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NBA exploring rapid coronavirus testing

Could we be back on our way to live sports?

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Due to the coronavirus, the NBA suspended play on March 11th. Unlike college basketball, the plan has always been for the season to be completed and a champion to be crowned. After almost a month of social distancing in the NBA, the league seems to be taking steps to resume play.

If, perhaps, league officials could put the players on the court with an absolute guarantee that none of them were carrying the virus then play could theoretically safely resume. It seems we are just now getting to the point that test results can return within hours instead of days. But if a test for the coronavirus could yield accurate results within a few minutes, then players could be kept safe while competing.

“Rapid-testing results are key to return to work, return to sports, everything,” an anonymous NBA executive told ESPN. “Whatever job you have and environment you work in, if you’re interacting with people, we’re all going to have to feel safe doing that. Sports isn’t any different.”

The sense around the league is that we are close to having the ability to detect the coronavirus in a very short amount of time. That means that we are taking steps toward getting back on the court sooner rather than later.

Of course, when play does resume it will almost definitely be without fans. And the supplies needed for the rapid-testing will certainly be made first available to first-responders and those in need before NBA players. But as soon as that technology is available for the NBA and returning to play is socially acceptable, it seems the NBA and the NBA Players Association are ready to get back to work.

Read ESPN’s detailed report about rapid-testing in the NBA here.