Pelicans general manager David Griffin says three New Orleans players have tested positive for COVID-19 and will be in self-isolation until testing shows they can return to team activities without infecting others.
Griffin declined to identify the players, citing medical privacy laws.
The positive tests occurred on June 23, the first day all members of the team were tested as part of the NBA’s plan to restart the season, which was suspended in mid-March because of the pandemic. Griffin says the Pelicans have had no players test positive since.
“The league has a system in place that was designed to catch these cases. That system worked and we’re just going to deal with it the best we can moving forward,” Griffin said. “The league is relying both on the CDC and their own medical experts and the players’ union medical experts on this, and we’re going to continue to follow those guidelines.”
When the Pelicans return to action on July 30 against Utah at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex outside of Orlando, Florida, they will be 3 1/2 games out of the Western Conference’s final playoff spot with eight games left.
Because of the NBA’s decision to base seeding on winning percentage, New Orleans and Sacramento also are effectively one game behind Portland for the ninth spot. This season, finishing ninth — as well as within four games of eighth — offers a “play-in” opportunity to qualify for the post-season by beating the eighth seed two straight times.