Kings player to be cleared after inconclusive COVID-19 test result

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A Sacramento Kings player had an inconclusive coronavirus test this week but was ultimately cleared for Friday's game against the San Antonio Spurs, coach Luke Walton told reporters.

Sources told ESPN that the player had to quarantine for two days after the inconclusive test -- or "false positive" -- Wednesday, but successive negative results Thursday and Friday allowed for his availability against the Spurs on Friday.


"[An inconclusive test], it's bound to happen," Walton said. "It will probably happen again to someone else while we are out here, but the player is back with us and we have everyone available."

Walton said he remained comfortable with the safeguards the NBA has in place.

"We're very confident and comfortable here as a team," Walton said. "We know why the safeguards are put in place, and we have everyone back. We'll respect the privacy of the individual players. The NBA has done an amazing job of putting these safeguards in place just to make sure if something does happen in the bubble that we try to contain it before it starts spreading."

Inconclusive tests require an individual to register two consecutive negative tests in the next 48 hours for clearance, according to NBA protocols. The process of clearing players from these inconclusive tests is a significant concern for teams in the bubble; they worry that this scenario could cause a key player -- or players -- to be lost for a game or more in seeding or playoff games.


Some published studies have shown that five of every 1,000 tests for the coronavirus in the United States can come back as inconclusive. The NBA has been working with doctors and scientists to find a way to safely shorten that 48-hour quarantine period, but there are limitations in the science and technology that present challenges to speeding up that process, sources told ESPN.

Other teams in the Orlando, Florida, bubble told ESPN that they have had similar testing scenarios with staff members leading up to the restart, but with games underway now, there is far greater concern of losing players for a two-day window.

The NBA has yet to have a positive COVID-19 test among its players in the bubble environment of Walt Disney World Resort.
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