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The Mavericks took plenty of precautions to stay healthy before Orlando — and they worked

2020 NBA Restart - All Access Practice Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

On the night of March 11th, the Dallas Mavericks were playing the Denver Nuggets in Dallas when the season was suspended mid-game. It would be the last game played outside of the NBA’s bubble for the 2019-2020 season. No one could have guessed what the next 4 months would look like or just how many COVID-19 would infect. Brad Townsend recently wrote an incredible piece detailing how the Mavericks staff was proactive in protecting the teams health.

The first thing the Mavericks staff had to do was ensure the team stayed in shape physically. Townsend spoke to Mavericks athletic performance director Jeremy Holsopple and director of player health and performance Casey Smith to find out on how they did it:

Smith and Holsopple borrowed equipment from the Mavericks’ weight rooms at American Airlines Center and training facility. They ordered training bikes, medicine balls, resistance bands, and power-blocks that act as dumbbells.

Holsopple and Smith personally sanitized and delivered the items to players’ homes, including Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis prior to their returns to Europe later in the pandemic.

From Brad Townsend’s “Mavericks coronavirus warfare: Exterminator canisters, home deliveries and Mark Cuban’s credit card” on The Dallas Morning News

Whenever the season started back up, it was vital that players returned as close to basketball shape as possible. It’s unlikely that any player will truly be 100% in basketball shape until after their scrimmages and possibly even a few regular season games. Yet the preparations the Mavericks took while still in Dallas are important for one main reason — injury prevention.

Earlier this week we saw news of Zion Williamson dealing with cramps during practice. The impact of these are not severe, but it is likely an effect of returning to basketball. Even Zion, who looks like he’s been lifting weights the entire hiatus, is susceptible to the level of physical shape the game of basketball demands.

Luckily for the Mavericks, the home countries of star players Luka Doncic (Slovenia) and Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia) had far fewer cases of the virus than here in the United States. This allowed both players to shoot in gyms and train extensively. While some focused solely on Luka Doncic “getting out of shape”, the value of available training should prove to be extremely useful for his endurance in the playoffs.

As for preventing COVID-19 from infecting players and staff, the Mavericks did a remarkable job. Texas has seen an increasing number of cases day-by-day, so keeping everyone healthy would be no easy task. Despite being in one of the viruses worst hot spots - the Mavericks did not report a single player of staff member test positive before leaving for Orlando. This is not due to a healthy dose of luck but rather calculated measures that ensured player safety. Townsend detailed the tedious, but necessary measures many of the staff took to keep the facility as clean as possible:

Between each session there was sanitizing — lots of it. Smith purchased several professional-grade sprayers, like the ones exterminators use. The Mavericks bought scads of Husky 891 Arena Disinfectant, which sell for $94 for a case of four.

“The volume that we needed, it’s not like we were giving it a little spritz,” Holsopple said. “We were drowning some of the [weight] equipment because there’s little crevices that any virus could be in. We just can’t have that be the case.”

And in case a day of spraying and wiping the facility wasn’t enough: Every evening a company that specializes in hospital sanitation sent a crew for extra-deep cleaning.

From Brad Townsend’s “Mavericks coronavirus warfare: Exterminator canisters, home deliveries and Mark Cuban’s credit card” on The Dallas Morning News

The Mavericks ensuring the players had a safe place to practice in a market overcome with COVID-19 was a key part of making sure the team would be as ready as possible for Orlando. While we wait for answers and hope for safety in the mystery of Trey Burke and Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist not reporting to the bubble, we can applaud the measures taken by the staff that protected the majority of the team. Many of the NBA’s keystone players —including Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Nikola Jokic — have seen a positive test come back during this break. The health of the Mavericks players in nothing to be taken for granted and the planning from the team has been a huge part in making sure the team is ready for playoff success.

Click here to read all of Brad Townsend’s (@townbrad) fascinating story on the Mavericks plans.