Last month, the Los Angeles Lakers reopened their practice facility for the first time since March 19. Since then, a number of players, including Alex Caruso, Markieff Morris, Jared Dudley and Kyle Kuzma, have gone into the facility to get a workout in — LeBron James hasn’t, and it’s not because he hasn’t been getting ready to finish the season in Orlando.
On Wednesday, Dave Mcmenamin of ESPN rehashed a report that James and a few of his Lakers teammates have been working out at private gyms because of the restrictions that are in place at the UCLA Health Training Center, where the team practices. However, starting next week, James will have no choice but to work out at the Lakers’ practice facility unless he receives permission from the NBA to do otherwise:
Starting June 23, players who have been working out at private gyms will be prohibited without prior NBA approval. Several Lakers, LeBron included, spent the majority of their hiatus playing on private courts rather than at the facility, where there are restrictions in place.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 17, 2020
June 23 is also the date that all players and staff will begin mandatory COVID-19 testing, according to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic on Tuesday. That doesn’t mean teams will be able to resume their normal practices, though. In fact, according to Charania’s report, teams won’t be permitted to hold group workouts until at least July 9, giving them just three weeks to get back into game shape before the season starts on July 30. That’s not a lot of time.
There’s no doubt that James and the Lakers have been taking care of their bodies as much as they possibly can during this three-month hiatus, but because of the unprecedented stoppage in play, the threat of a serious injury will be looming for every team. All we can hope for is that the players leave Orlando as healthy as they were when they arrived.