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Doc Rivers on a bubble-free NBA season: 'I’m very concerned if we can pull this off'

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Coach Doc Rivers may be with the Philadelphia 76ers now, but he’s still the same Doc. He’s still giving honest answers to difficult questions, and Tuesday’s news conference was no different.

With the new NBA season starting on Dec. 22 and COVID-19 cases rising all over the country, ESPN reporter Cassidy Hubbarth asked Rivers what his concerns are about playing the season without the benefit of a bubble. He didn’t sugarcoat it: he’s worried.

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Rivers picked the perfect examples to illustrate his concerns. College football games have been canceled left and right due to outbreaks. Ohio State is 5-0 but if one of their two remaining games is canceled, they’ll be ineligible for the College Football Playoffs despite their sparkling record.

Over in the NFL, the game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers has been postponed three times due to an outbreak on the Ravens. The Denver Broncos had to play with a practice squad quarterback on Sunday because their starter and all of the backups either had COVID-19 or were being isolated due to exposure.

Imagining those kinds of COVID-19 issues in basketball is somehow worse. Rivers pointed out that a positive COVID-19 test in basketball has a much greater impact than in football simply because the two sports are different. It could wreak havoc on a team’s entire season.

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The season starts in three weeks so Rivers is probably not the only coach with these concerns. At this point we don’t know how the NBA will deal with these issues, but we do know one thing: without a bubble, they will have to deal with them.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 09: Doc Rivers of the LA Clippers during the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets in Game Four of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 09, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
76ers coach Doc Rivers is pretty worried about how the NBA can pull off a season without a bubble. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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