Zion confident of NBA restart despite 25 positive virus cases

NEW YORK, USA – New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson said Thursday, July 2, he trusts the NBA to keep players safe when play resumes next month as the league announced 25 players have tested positive for coronavirus.

"I trust the NBA," Williamson said in a video conference. "In the bubble, we're going to be in a safe environment."

"It's crazy, man," the 19-year-old added with a shake of his head. "We're actually about to go. It's a lot to process for sure. But I am excited."

The NBA shut down the 2019-2020 season on March 11 after Utah's Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

The NBA plans to resume the season on July 30 with 22 teams conducting games without spectators in a bubble environment at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. (READ: Lakers-Clippers highlights NBA return from hiatus)

Teams are set to travel to Orlando next Tuesday through Thursday to conduct training camps and scrimmages from July 9-29.

The NBA has ramped up COVID-19 testing in the last week as preparation for the restart. The league and players' union said Wednesday that 25 players have so far tested positive.

Those results are from 351 players tested since June 23. Of 344 players tested between June 24-29, 9 were positive for coronavirus.

Tests of 884 team staff members from June 23-29 showed 10 coronavirus positives.

Any player, coach or team staff member testing positive must remain in self-isolation until meeting public health protocols and receiving clearance from a physician.

Seedings games, 8 for each team, are set to begin July 30 with the Los Angeles Lakers playing the Los Angeles Clippers and the Utah Jazz facing the New Orleans Pelicans. (SCHEDULE: 2020 NBA seeding games, Philippine time)

After those contests complete the season, and following any play-in games that might be needed, the NBA playoffs are set to begin August 17 with the NBA Finals set to begin on September 30. – Rappler.com