When ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported "significant pessimism" that the NBA would find a path to resolving its season, he cited rapid and accessible testing as among key mitigating factors.
"A big factor is testing. We just don't have the testing," Windhorst said in a SportsCenter appearance. "At some point, not only does it have to be a test that's quick and can evaluate whether a player is healthy enough to enter a game, you have to know whether you have the tests available, so that you're not taking them away from people who need them."
Now, reports indicate the league has made some headway on that front - or at least, they're hoping to.
That certainly is a jarring update considering where we were in this story mere days ago. Holmes went on to report (citing league sources) that this experiment is in the "exploratory phase" and there is still no timetable for when such a resource might be made available.
Further, even if such an innovation was made, sports leagues would and should take a backseat to healthcare workers and other essential professionals. And even that hedge doesn't take into account the risk of possible false-negative tests, an issue Holmes fleshed out at length in the aforementioned report.
If all the stars align, though, the consensus appears to be that this could be a game-changer as it relates to the NBA returning to action.
Still, the message from the league and its many spheres is consistent. Top brass is doing all it can to find an avenue to resume and resolve the 2019-20 season, but will not do so until given clearance by health officials to do so. The hurdles remain immense.
This report marks a potential breakthrough well down the line, but for now, it's a development that leaves us with more questions than answers. A familiar feeling, coming up on a month since the NBA suspended its season.
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Report: NBA assessing COVID-19 testing options that could accelerate return originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago