Coronavirus: NBA champion Raptors will open Monday for solo workouts

NBA commissioner Adam Silver shut down the NBA season in March after Utah's Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

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The Raptors became the first Canadian club side to win a major North American sports title since the Toronto Blue Jays won the Major League Baseball's World Series in 1993.   -  AFP

The reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors said on Friday it will reopen its practice facility on Monday for individual workouts under strict guidelines from league, local government and public health authorities.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver shut down the NBA season in March after Utah's Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

The NBA permitted solo workouts under controlled conditions starting Friday at team facilities, the first small step toward resuming the season, although many teams did not take advantage of the opportunity.

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In some cases, it was because state and local governments have not allowed it, but the Raptors has approval from local government officials.

“Strict protocols have been designed to ensure this initial level of access will take place in a safe, controlled and healthy way,” the team said in a statement.

The access will focus upon on-court activities such as shooting drills, with locker rooms, weight rooms, medical facilities, offices and other areas of the building still closed.

While the NBA allows as many as four players at one time in practice facilities, the Raptors said it will allow only one player at a time into its building.

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All areas and equipment, including basketballs, will be cleaned before and after each player uses the facility.

Staff members, such as those who would rebound the ball for players, will wear gloves and masks at all times and players will wear masks except while on the court.

Temperature and symptom checks will be done by the Raptors medical staff before anyone enters the facility and security outside the building will ensure social distancing.

At 46-18, the Raptors owned the third-best record in the NBA when the league went on hiatus, trailing only the conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers.

Cameroon playmaker Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 23.6 points a game when the season was stopped and also contributed 7.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists a contest.

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