Despite the fact that a schedule still hasn't been released, we are inching closer to the start of the 2020 WNBA season, which is supposed to begin on July 24 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Unfortunately, there's already been some issues due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Early on Monday, prior to teams traveling to Florida, the league announced that seven out of the league's 137 players have tested positive for COVID-19. Also, due to CDC guidelines and quarantine restrictions, the Indiana Fever will not be able to make the trip for at least five days. Via the league's press release:
In tests conducted of 137 WNBA players between June 28-July 5, seven players have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Any player who tested positive will remain in self-isolation until she satisfies public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and has been cleared by a a physician.
Players and staff from 11 of the 12 WNBA teams will arrive at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida today. The Indiana Fever will delay their travel by at least five days in an abundance of caution due to the CDC's close contact self-quarantine requirements.
Upon arrival, all players and staff will be required to self-isolate in their rooms for four days. They will be tested daily for the first two weeks, then on a regular basis after that.
Chicago Sky guard Sydney Colson announced on Twitter that she tested positive for the coronavirus, but that was on June 27, so she is presumably not among these seven positive tests. Otherwise, the identities of the players are unknown, though the Indianapolis Star reported that two Fever players have tested positive, which is unsurprising considering they aren't traveling.
Assuming the Fever are able to depart as soon as possible on July 11, and that they would then have to isolate in their rooms for four days upon arrival, that would put them at July 15 before they are able to start practicing in Florida. It's unclear if this setback will alter the league's plan to begin play on July 24, but if it does not, the Fever will have just nine days to prepare in the bubble.
So far, eight players, including Liz Cambage and Jonquel Jones, have announced that they will be sitting out the 2020 season.