OKC Thunder: Orlando bubble continues to hold fast – no positive tests

The OKC Thunder and their peers leaned for the third successive week the Disney bubble has not produced a positive COVID-19 test.

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association released a joint statement on Wednesday with more good news about the bubble.  That’s great news for the OKC Thunder and the other 21 participating bubble teams.

For the third successive week, no positive COVID-19 tests occurred.

With 22 teams in Orlando isolated at the Wide World of Sports ESPN Complex, it was believed it would be possible to maintain a protected environment. However, with the venue in Orlando, it definitely wasn’t a certainty.

To ensure the bubble remained intact safety measures were put in place and protocols to follow. Knowing there would be situations when players or team members would need to leave the bubble there is a process to follow.

OKC Thunder learns bubble remains virus free

Those who received excused absences but follow a specific set of rules. A daily COVID-19 test must be taken for every day the player/staff member is outside the bubble.

For example, New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson and LA Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley needed to leave the bubble for personal reasons. They were both approved absences. Each left the bubble and were tested daily. Upon return, they were required to quarantine in their rooms for four days producing negative results each day.

Examples that didn’t go well were Kings Richaun Holmes who crossed into an unapproved area to pick up food delivery. The price for that infraction was a 10-day quarantine. Ditto for Rockets forward Bruno Caboclo who left his room (he said to get ice).

The most publicized example was Clippers guard Lou Williams who made a stop at a gentleman’s club after he attended the funeral of a loved one. Like Holmes and Caboclo, he was required to quarantine for 10 days. It’s likely these players (even if they tested negative) were made examples of to drive home how serious the NBA and NBPA are taking the situation.

Clearly, the hope is that the trio of players and their subsequent isolation will deter others from making a choice that could potentially put the inhabitants of the bubble at risk.

OKC Thunder sixth man Dennis Schroder left the bubble to be with his wife Ellen for the birth of his daughter. Like the others he’ll provide daily testing and when he returns need to quarantine. Although the four-days isn’t locked in stone, that’s likely the amount of time he’ll be given.

With other major sports leagues not experiencing the same success rate and Florida still a hot spot, this is a qualified success story.

Moving forward the league won’t get lax as they send frequent reminders to wear their masks and practice safe distancing from media members of Disney staff members.

Although it’s not inherent the bubble will maintain this level of success, it sure seems more likely after three successful weeks.

Let’s hope it does stay intact since fans getting to watch a daily dose of quality basketball has offered us the joy of having sports back again.