Utah Jazz players worked out at a team facility on Monday for the first time since the NBA shut down March 11 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, with the team acknowledging that “a handful” of them took part in voluntary, individual workouts at the Zions Bank Basketball Campus.
As of Friday, May 8, the NBA enabled teams to reopen their facilities for such workouts, provided those teams are in locales where city and state governments have lightened stay-at-home restrictions. Jazz Vice President of Basketball Operations Dennis Lindsey told local media in a videoconference call last week that the organization would not be opening its facilities quite that soon, but that he expected the franchise to follow suit shortly, once its own above-and-beyond safety protocols could be met.
“We want to make sure the facility meets all of the league specifications, local/state health officials’ protocols, and then we’re going to be even a little bit more stringent to those standards, creating our own standards,” Lindsey said.
Monday’s workouts by Jazz players are not a sign of an imminent return to action, as Commissioner Adam Silver just days ago spelled out to players the roadblocks inherent in ending the league’s ongoing hiatus.
Rather, such workouts are a means for players who do not have access to their own courts or home gyms to have the means to get in proper workouts. After all, even with these new guidelines issued, the NBA reminded players that they remain “prohibited from using non-team facilities such as public health clubs, fitness centers, or gyms.”
The NBA has strict limitations in place on players’ usage of facilities, including that no more than four players will be permitted in the facility at any time; group activities — such as practices and scrimmages — remain prohibited; and no head coaches are allowed to participate.
In the interim, the team has tried to keep up constant contact with players, with Lindsey noting that head coach Quin Snyder, assistant Jeff Watkinson, and VP of Performance Health Care Mike Elliott had teamed up to craft conditioning drills, skill-specific workouts, and individualized development plans to keep players as ready to go as possible in case the season starts up again.
“We’re excited about the opportunities to bring our players back here safely and take the first small step towards returning to play — whenever that happens,” Lindsey said last week.
And on Monday, that happened to some degree. A Jazz official noted that those individual workouts at ZBBC took place “in accordance with Utah Department of Health and NBA regulations.”