Outbreak Hits for the Lakers El Segundo Training Facility is a tough place for the team to train.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ lineup, like that of many of the NBA, was decimated by Covid in December. More than half of the team’s players went through the NBA’s health and safety requirements throughout the course of the month. Five of the team’s now-17-man roster were out at the same time at one stage. Coach Frank Vogel, who was also out, said the flu made him “very unwell.” However, the outbreak had far-reaching consequences.
According to the Los Angeles County Public Health Department’s Covid dashboard, scores of employees at the Lakers/UCLA Health Training Facility in El Segundo and the stadium formerly known as Staples Center have tested positive in the last few weeks.
In mid-December, the number stood at 29 instances. On December 28, the number of infections had risen to 31. There were 38 infections linked to the team and its facilities’ workers two days later. The number of instances documented on the county Public Health dashboard as of this past Friday was 52.
It’s unclear whether those cases involve athletes who joined the league’s health and safety processes or coaches who tested positive, including Vogel and his assistant coach Phil Handy. Even if the nine players who sat out and the two coaches are included, the L.A. County Health Department reports that 41 other staff members tested positive for Covid.
The Lakers were contacted by Deadline for comment, but they declined “due to HIPAA restrictions affecting personnel,” according to the franchise. It’s also worth noting that the county’s list is sometimes days or weeks behind actual case reporting, so many of the infections in concern may have cleared up by now.
There are a few other cases associated with the squad that could be included in the total.
Play-by-play for the Los Angeles Lakers Bill MacDonald, a TV broadcaster, missed games in December owing to a positive drug test. As a result, radio play-by-play announcer John Ireland stepped in to take MacDonald’s place on TV, while sideline reporter Mike Trudell took Ireland’s radio play-by-play role.
At another moment, Mychal Thompson, a radio analyst (and former Showtime player), stated that he had Covid, leaving Ireland to conduct the radio show alone. Additionally, Ireland and Trudell were placed in Health and Safety Protocols for periods of time, and Trudell had to handle the radio program on his own when Ireland was away.
It wasn’t just the Lakers and their immediate relatives that were affected. With 61 infections recorded today, the newly rebranded Crypto.com Arena has earned a spot on the L.A. County list. With 75 cases recorded, NFL Media made an appearance, and Fox, the league’s broadcast partner, saw more than a dozen illnesses in its Fox Sports and Fox Sports Deportes sections.