The NBA suspended its season March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
April 27 (UPI) -- The NBA pushed back by at least a week its initial plan to allow players to re-enter team facilities in select cities for voluntary workouts, the league announced Monday.
The league had planned to reopen facilities Friday, including the Atlanta Hawks' practice site in Georgia, which was among the first states to relax stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, the NBA advised teams that it is targeting no earlier than May 8 to allow player workouts at facilities. The league said it can push back that date again "if developments warrant."
"The NBA informed its teams today that, as numerous state and local governments have announced modifications of stay-at-home orders and other restrictions on non-essential business activity beginning this week, the league is planning to modify its guidance regarding the use of team practice facilities and player training," the statement said.
"The purpose of these changes is to allow for safe and controlled environments for players to train in states that allow them to do so, and to create a process for identifying safe training options for players in other states."
Before the NBA's announcement Monday, the Hawks opted to wait on reopening its facilities until the franchise had a better idea of how the lessened stay-at-home orders were impacting the region.
"We are going to wait and see what happens in the state over the couple of weeks," Hawks president of basketball operations and general manager Travis Schlenk told ESPN. "If there's a positive response, we'll slowly open up. If it's a negative response, we'll make sure our staff and players remain healthy."
In the NBA's memo, the league detailed to teams the requirements of reopening facilities, including no more than four players being permitted in a facility at one time and having only one staff member supervising. No head coaches or assistants are allowed to participate, and group activities remain prohibited, including practices and scrimmages.
The NBA suspended its season on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. During the NBA's temporary shutdown, the league has barred players from using public gyms or training facilities.
The league's decision to reopen select facilities isn't considered reflective of a new timetable for a return to play this season, according to ESPN. NBA commissioner Adam Silver and team owners believe they need additional time and information before deciding when or how the season can be completed.