The Toronto Raptors have announced that three members of the organization have tested positive for COVID-19. Per league and team policy, no names were announced, but the individuals are currently self-isolating away from the rest of the organization.
Statement from the Toronto Raptors pic.twitter.com/wModeJv1Fd— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) December 7, 2020
Per the announcement, tracing and testing has not indicated that infection has spread to anyone else at this time.
While we don’t want to speculate on who has received the positive tests, it should be noted the statement indicates the tests were taken during the testing period prior to camp, and that Nick Nurse indicated on Sunday that every player participated in the first group practice. So our best guess is that’s it’s not one of the 20 players currently in training camp.
We don’t have exact numbers of how many people the team has brought to Tampa, but between players, coaches, medical and training stuff, team management, marketing and media, it’s a good-sized group. And while it’s also easy to say “yeah, of course, Florida”, if these positive tests came during the initial testing period, it seems likely these individuals contracted the virus elsewhere, before arriving in Florida.
Still: As we have seen with other team sports that are not playing in a bubble (baseball, football, college sports), this is the new normal: Individuals will test positive for COVID-19 this season, and it will happen with regularity. And while the Raptors appear to have contained the spread for now, at some point, a team will see the virus spread further throughout the organization, including to players. Every other sport has seen postponed and canceled games, and the NBA will not be an exception.
All of which makes it even scarier that the Raptors are playing in Florida, where recent investigations have revealed the state government has been deliberately misleading people about the risks and severity of the virus. The Raptors can and will be very careful, but they can’t count on anyone else in Tampa being equally so, which places them in a very risky situation.
The NBA and NBPA have developed thorough safety and testing protocols, but those other leagues have as well. Thankfully basketball rosters are smaller than baseball and football ones, which hopefully will allow for greater distancing and reduced spread, but it still projects to be a long season full of stories just like this one.