Report: NBA considers looking to new rapid COVID-19 tests to expedite return to court

As NBA commissioner Adam Silver admitted on Monday that there’s “too little information” to project the league’s return to action, a report broke on an avenue the league is considering to expedite play.

The NBA and the NBPA are looking into the viability of using newly developed rapid COVID-19 testing that’s done with a finger prick, ESPN’s Baxter Holmes reports.

The blood test developed by Illinois-based Abbot Laboratories gained FDA approval on Friday and can deliver results in five to 13 minutes, according to the Washington Post. Testing done with swabs requires samples to be delivered to labs and often takes more than a week to produce a result.

Testing in high demand

The rapid test has created significant demand, as the Post reported that the White House is prioritizing sending them to “the South and low density areas” rather than high-density hot spots. Government officials at local and state levels are lobbying to secure the testing devices for their areas, according to the Post.

Meanwhile, NBA training officials and front-office representatives told ESPN that this kind of rapid testing is exactly what the league needs to get back to business.

"Rapid testing results are key to return to work, return to sports, everything," an anonymous NBA general manager told ESPN.

Should the NBA consider pursuing rapid COVID-19 testing as resources remain limited? (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Should the NBA consider pursuing rapid COVID-19 testing as resources remain limited? (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Should the NBA seek rapid testing units?

The NBA is already under fire for its use of traditional coronavirus testing as the general public struggles to gain access to limited resources in the fight against the deadly pandemic. Multiple players and teams have reported using tests on their players and team staff, producing positive results reported by the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets.

Knicks owner James Dolan, Nets forward Kevin Durant and Jazz center Rudy Gobert are among the prominent names who have confirmed positive COVID-19 tests.

The anonymous team representatives who spoke to ESPN were cognizant of the potential appearance of the league getting priority for tests over others with more significant need.

From the report:

“We are going to be clearly second in line to healthcare workers, transportation workers, public workers, things along those lines," said one longtime NBA head athletic trainer.

“Even if the technology is there, is it accessible?" said another athletic training official with first-hand knowledge of the process. “Because obviously we have higher-priority people that may need that, like our emergency workers and health-care professionals that definitely take a priority over our players.”

Meanwhile, Silver made sure not to overpromise optimism during a Monday interview with TNT’s Ernie Johnson.

“The fact is sitting here today I know less than I did then,” Silver said.

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