Speaking for the Players

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Chris Paul Prioritizing Player Safety, Performance in Return to Play Plans

With speculation of a potential return to play growing, players and owners are hoping to find the best possible way of bringing players back on the floor without seeing a significant spike in injury.

The president of the NBPA Chris Paul took part in a conference call and lobbied for at least a three to four weeks preparation period prior to return to game action. The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard was adamant that necessary steps must be taken to protect the players if the NBA decides to complete its season over the summer.

“I’m just letting you know — and I don’t think the league would do it anyway — but if they were like, ‘Hey, you got two weeks, and then we’re going,’ that’s not going to happen,” Paul said via ESPN’s Royce Young. “That’s not going to happen. Whatever the amount of time is, just know that players will have the input, the say-so, because we’re the ones playing. That comes first. We don’t ever want to put guys in a situation where their injury risk is higher than ever before.

The NBA has been on hiatus since March 12, a day after both Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“This is the thing with having 450 players in the league and being in a situation like this,” explained Paul. “Where some guys have access to weight rooms, some guys don’t. Some guys have access to facilities where they can train or do this or can run. That’s why, whatever happens — and I say this, and I mean this — we always go back to the players.”

Last week, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported that the NBA is looking at a 25-day program if a return to play is deemed safe by heath officials.

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