New Locker Room Procedures
Good news from the Memphis Grizzlies Monday afternoon regarding Jaren Jackson, Jr and Justice Winslow. The team announced Jackson and Winslow both are likely to return within the next week.
Jackson has been sidelined since February 21st due to a knee injury and Winslow has not seen playing time with his new team since being traded. Winslow suffered a back injury while playing with the Miami Heat and has been out of action since January 8th.
Brandon Clarke suffered a right quadriceps strain on February 24 against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Grizzlies announced Clarke is progressing well in his recovery and is expected to return this season.
Jackson and Winslow are likely to return to action as soon as the Grizzlies' upcoming three-game road trip that begins Thursday in Portland against the Trailblazers, who are also vying for the 8th seed in the Western Conference.
With just over a month remaining in the regular season, Memphis holds a four-game lead over the ninth-place Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans.
The NBA will take active precautionary measures against the coronavirus, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. He reported that the NBA will prohibit non-essential personnel from entering team locker rooms, including media. The league will reportedly keep media members at a six-to-eight feet distance from players.
Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS), National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) issued a joint statement on Monday:
“After consultation with infectious disease and public health experts, and given the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings, all team locker rooms, and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice. Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting."
Statement from the Memphis Grizzlies regarding the new directive:
"This will go into effect starting with our game tomorrow against Orlando, and we will have one interview room available for each team's media availability starting with shootaround. The media dining room located inside the Don Poier Media Center will now be turned into a mixed-use press conference/dining room on a consistent basis for Memphis Grizzlies media availabilities (practices, shootarounds, pre and postgame). For tomorrow's shootaround, please gather in the media dining room and we will take interview requests from this location. The Memphis Grizzlies communications team will be happy to show credentialed media the location of the visiting team's interview room or answer any further questions."
I understand why the NBA is taking these precautions, but I wonder about others who have access to the players when they are not around their team. Will teams limit what players do outside of work? Will the NBA limit family members or business partners? Will the players and essential personnel be quarantined?
There are so many questions that need to be answered. But it is understandable why the NBA is being proactive in this situation.