Seth Curry, in a game between the Sixers and the Wizards.Bill Streicher / .
Seth Curry, a 30-year-old guard-guard, was informed that he had tested positive for coronavirus while on the bench during his team, the Philadelphia Sixers, against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday. The Sixers had to spend the night in New York, where this Friday they were subjected to new tests for COVID-19, in accordance with the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
The case of Curry, brother of Stephen, the star of the Golden State Warriors, reveals the difficulties to control the effects of the pandemic in a competition like the NBA, which involves constant and long trips and in which the players cannot be isolated and controlled 24 hours a day. The season began on December 22 and several positives have already been registered and several players have had to remain in quarantine after having been in contact with infected people.
The NBA imposed extensive regulations on its 30 teams, but the conditions are now very different from those of the bubble that was created at the Disney World complex in Orlando, to conclude last season. The League, then, with all the players, coaches and staff of the teams confined in the same hotel and sports facilities, concluded without major setbacks and without any positive since it resumed, on July 30, until the Lakers were proclaimed champions October 11.
On Thursday, Curry was out of the game against the Nets with a left ankle injury. Despite this, as injured players often do, he was on the bench. He was wearing a mask and was sitting next to assistant coach Sam Cassell and center Joel Embiid when he was relieved. It was during the first quarter of the game, won by the Nets (122-109), when the Sixers learned that Curry had tested positive. The player left the court and was isolated from the team.
Embiid, who has a three-month-old son, told ESPN that he plans to quarantine his family until he is sure he has not been infected. The Sixers’ next game is scheduled for this Saturday, against the Denver Nuggets, in Philadelphia. Before the game against the Nets, Doc Rivers, the Sixers coach and father-in-law of Seth Curry, explained that the player had suffered an injury Wednesday in the game against the Washington Wizards. Rivers said he did not know exactly when the mishap occurred and added that he believed it was not a major injury.
The NBA had reported on Thursday, shortly before the match began that day, that of the 498 players tested for covid-19 in the last week, four had tested positive. Previously, Chicago Bulls’ Chandler Hutchison and Tomas Satoransky had also tested positive. According to official NBA figures, at least 117 players have contracted the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, when the competition, on March 11, was suspended for four and a half months.
Kevin Durant, one of the Nets stars, tested positive for coronavirus in May. But because he was among the contacts of a person who had tested positive in recent days, he has remained isolated and has not been able to play the last games of his team, against Utah and against the Sixers. The tests to which he has been subjected have been negative and he could play again on January 12, in the game that will face the Nets and Denver Nuggets. Precisely a player from the Colorado team, Michael Porter, is also in quarantine, in compliance with NBA protocols, and Jalen Smith of the Phoenix Suns and Tyler Johnson of the Nets are in the same situation.
Becky Hammon, who on December 31, against the Lakers, became the first woman to lead an official NBA game, could not be in the game that on Thursday again faced the Spurs against the Los Angeles team, because he had to comply with the protocol against covid-19 like two other members of the San Antonio Spurs staff.
From now on, the NBA will require players, coaches, and staff members to wear Kinexon SafeZone touch-tracking sensors.