Raptors do their part joining NBA/Mayo Clinic antibodies testing program

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The routine at the Raptors practice facility was disrupted slightly for a good cause yesterday.

In addition to those players taking advantage of the one-on-one gym time the team is offering, the facility was playing host to voluntary antibodies testing open to players, coaches and staff.

It’s part of a Mayo clinic study the NBA has joined. Teams, at least the teams with their own practice facilities open, have the opportunity to undergo the testing which will confirm first whether you have already had the virus and then if antibodies are present in your blood.

The individual being tested gets definitive confirmation whether or not they have contracted the virus and have the antibodies providing important information which the Mayo Clinic can use.

As for the league itself, the information, while beneficial in the broader sense, doesn’t really provide them guidance one way or the other as they attempt to restart the season in the next couple of months.

What it can do is provide a clearer picture of the prevalence of the virus within the league and can help promote long-term efforts to develop a vaccine and perhaps eventually bring an end to this global pandemic.

As a league source said Tuesday the information isn’t necessarily “driving decision making” but it will provide information and at this point all information about the virus that can be accumulated can only help down the road.

With so many different tests for antibodies hitting the market over the past month of so, this test through the Mayo Clinic is considered very reliable and consistent over large groups. Initially there were something like 200 first-to-market tests available and of that 200 only 11 of them were FDA approved.

This particular test has two-stages with the volunteer having blood drawn through the crook of the arm and then a second less invasive test with the finger being pricked and a smaller amount of blood drawn.

By comparing the results, the Mayo Clinic will be able to validate whether the finger prick test is a reliable one for antibodies.

The knowledge that a player has antibodies in his system also opens up the possibility of a plasma donation that could be used to help someone suffering from the virus overcome it.

Based strictly on their size and the amount of training they do, NBA athletes would have an increased plasma volume making them better candidates than the average Joe.

The Mayo Clinic ships all the apparatus for the tests the various teams taking part. The team provides the medical practitioner to oversee the tests which are then sent back to the Clinic with the results available some two days later.

Major League Baseball was part of a similar study overseen by Stanford University. Those results showed just a 0.7% of 10,000 test subjects showed development of COVID-19 antibodies.

LET’S TRY AGAIN

The Knicks reportedly are ready to begin their search for the sixth coach in the past six years with one time Knicks assistant Tom Thibodeau at the top of their wish list. Now that RJ Barrett is there, for his sake, we hope they get this hire right.

The Knicks have been laughing stocks of the league for years now primarily because meddlesome owner Jim Dolan can’t seem to let his basketball people make the basketball decisions.

Thibodeau is a man who is a strong-minded coach accustomed to calling his own shots. Dolan would have to take a decided step back if this relationship were to work.

FLAPPING IN THE WIND

Very different scenario in Chicago where they still have a head coach but a completely new management staff that is still debating to bring in their own guy to coach or go in a different direction.

As it stands now Jim Boylen still has the job but few in the market believe he will keep it much longer.

Arturas Karnisovas, the new head of basketball operations, and general manager Marc Eversley are doing their own internal deep dive to see what is the best course of action. Boylen’s record will not save him – the Bulls have been losing for a few years now — but if the team’s new management determines him a good fit, Boylen could be saved.

QUICK HITS

Plenty of talk about an imminent re-start for the NBA season but no real consensus to date. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Friday’s Board of Governors meeting is not expected to reveal a settled-on path. That is expected to take some more time.