346 NBA players in Florida bubble return negative tests

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    THE National Basketball Association said on Monday that none of the 346 players who have been tested for COVID-19 over the last week on its bubble-like campus at Disney World in Florida returned positive tests.

    When the NBA, which will resume its season on July 30 at Disney World without spectators, released its previous COVID-19 update last Monday it said two of the 322 players who arrived at the campus since July 7 had tested positive.

    If a player on the campus returns a confirmed positive test in the future, the NBA said he will be isolated until he clears the rules established by the league and union representing its players.

    The NBA, which halted its season in March, will have 22 of its 30 teams play eight seeding games to determine a full 16-team playoff field that will follow the traditional post-season format with four best-of-seven series.

    All games, practices and housing are at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex inside the Orlando resort, which has multiple hotels and arenas, and allows the league to limit outside exposure.

    Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said star point guard Russell Westbrook will arrive in Florida on Monday.

    Westbrook, who announced July 13 he had tested positive for the coronavirus, will quarantine in his hotel room at the Walt Disney World resort until he has negative readings on two COVID-19 tests at least 24 hours apart.

    “He is about ready to land here pretty soon,” D’Antoni told reporters. “It will give everyone a little pep in their step.”

    D’Antoni said the former NBA Most Valuable Player is unlikely to play in the first of Houston’s three scrimmages, but the Rockets are hopeful to have him back this weekend.

    The Rockets resume the season on July 31 against the Dallas Mavericks at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.

    Westbrook, 31, averaged 27.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists in 53 games before the season came to a halt on March 11 amid the pandemic.

    The nine-time All-Star was playing in his first season with the Rockets after being acquired in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder last summer. He played 11 seasons with the Thunder, highlighted by a 2016-17 campaign in which he earned NBA MVP honors after averaging a career-best 31.6 points to go along with 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists.