The NBA is set to restart its 2019-20 season in Orlando, Florida. However, an expert has warned that players are facing an alarming issue once games begin.
In the NBA's return-to-play plan, players and each team's coaching staff and personnel will be isolated in a "bubble" like campus at Walt Disney World resort. While they will be allowed to leave the premises, doing so will require the players to follow a strict protocol in order to get back. Such protocol includes being quarantined for 10 days and being subjected to two COVID-19 testing -- one of which is the deep nasal swab.
Players won't also be paid in the games that they will miss during quarantine.
Put simply, there are a lot of drawbacks for players to leave Disney World, which is why they would be better off staying in the vicinity of the area as to avoid any repercussions.
Nonetheless, a leading sports psychologist warned the NBA that the protocols put in place to get the season going will put the players in a tremendous amount of struggle and stress. Dr. Stephen Gonzalez, executive board member for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, told the New York Post that players will eventually feel being in a "house arrest" with the NBA's rules about its restart.
"It's unchartered waters,'' Gonzalez said. "The Olympics, you need to have all their movements tracked with security details and it hampers your freedom. It's a small amount of what's to happen with basketball. They're restricted to where they can eat. They're giving up a lot of freedom to do this."
Dr. Gonzalez added that while there will be initial excitement, it won't really last.
"There's going to be an initial excitement and motivation to follow the rules,'' the expert added. "Eventually, it's like a New Year's resolution. You diet and, after a week or two, you revert back to habits. Our athletes are going to revert back to what they like things to be. I think it's going to be a lot of struggle and stress."
There will be a total of 22 NBA teams that will go to Orlando to play out the rest of the season and the playoffs. The games could last until October, which means majority of players will have to stay in the bubble location for at least three months.
The mental health of the players has been overlooked in the NBA's return plan. With that said, Commissioner Adam Silver and Co. certainly need to look at the issue and come up with an appropriate plan.
After all, they would certainly want to put the best product in Orlando even though there will be no fans in attendance.