Glimmers of normalcy are emerging in professional sports.
A tweaked professional golf event and a NASCAR race over the weekend provided some relief.
Monday, the Oklahoma City Thunder returned for voluntary workouts at the team practice facility, according to a team spokesperson.
Several NBA teams had opened practice facilities on or around the league’s May 8 target date, but the Thunder didn’t commit itself to that timeline.
State health officials assured the team that its private testing will not take from tests needed in the community, and the Thunder were able to provide written documentation to the NBA in order to test players and essential staff.
It allowed the Thunder to ease back into their routine, though there are a number of league restrictions in place due to the ongoing pandemic that shut down league play on March 11.
Nothing is fully normal again.
No more than four players are allowed in an NBA facility right now. Head coaches, primary assistants and members of ownership may not observe workouts.
There is a laundry list of other health precautions, such as temperature checks, to ensure a safe return.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the league hoped that 22 of its 30 teams would have facilities open for voluntary workouts by Monday.
The NBA is still sorting through how it might return to its season. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that a decision is expected from league commissioner Adam Silver within the next three weeks.
Until then, testing resources and infection trends are being watched closely. The league has expressed optimism about a return but must consider many variables.
For example, some NBA players are more at risk than others. Larry Nance, Jr. told ESPN on Monday he hopes the league considers players like him while making its final decision; treatments for Crohn’s disease have weakened Nance’s immune system.
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