LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Sacramento Kings had to quarantine a player for two days after an inconclusive coronavirus test result on Wednesday, but successive negative results on Thursday and Friday are expected to allow for his availability against the Spurs on Friday night, sources told ESPN.
Inconclusive tests — or “false positives” — require an individual to register two consecutive negative tests in the next 48 hours for clearance, according to NBA protocols. The process of clearing players from these inconclusive tests is a significant concern for teams in the Orlando bubble, which worry that this scenario could cause a key player — or players — to be lost for a game or more in seeding or playoff games.
Some published studies have shown that five of every 1,000 tests for the coronavirus in the United States can come back as inconclusive. The NBA has been working with doctors and scientists to find a way to safely shorten that 48-hour quarantine period, but there are limitations in the science and technology that present challenges to speeding up that process, sources said.
Other teams in the bubble told ESPN that they have had similar testing scenarios with staff members leading up to the restart, but with games underway now, there is far greater concern of losing players for a two-day window.
The NBA has yet to have a positive COVID-19 test among its players in the bubble environment of Walt Disney World.