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6 Coronavirus cases at 3 Premier League clubs as training resumes

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND —
The Premier League’s first wave of mass coronavirus testing of players and staff found six people infected at three of the 19 clubs to conduct the checks.

Socially distant training sessions can now begin, without the involvement of the six people with COVID-19 who have to self-isolate for seven days. They include Burnley assistant manager Ian Woan, whose positive test was announced by the club. Burnley said Woan was asymptomatic.

The league has not disclosed the identities of those who test tested positive from the tests on 748 people on Sunday and Monday.

“The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency,” the league said in a statement.

One of the 20 clubs in the league only started conducting tests on Tuesday. The results of those tests will be included in the figures from the second wave of checks being published on Saturday.

The competition has been suspended since March due to the pandemic. A relaxation of national lockdown regulations is only now allowing non-contact training to resume, with a maximum of five players working together for up to 75 minutes a day at training facilities.

While the top divisions in Belgium, France and the Netherlands have been curtailed, the Premier League has government backing to plan a return to action in June.

But the aim of restarting around June 12 looks hard to meet. Approval for contact training and games resuming rely on there being no new spike in COVID-19 cases in the country with the second highest known deaths from the disease after the United States.

Premier League clubs will hold a conference call next Tuesday to discuss the protocols needed for contact training, as social distancing is still urged in wider society.

The pause in the league has left Liverpool waiting to complete the end of its 30-year title drought. Jurgen Klopp’s side is 25 points clear with nine games remaining.

“There was a discussion that people wanted to declare the season null and void,” Klopp said in a video interview for the German football federation that was released on Tuesday. “That would have been something that I personally would have found unfair, if you said that it just didn’t happen.”

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Phase 2 of NHL's Return-to-Play Protocol Leaves (Almost) Nothing to Chance – Sports Illustrated

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The NHL unrolled Phase 2 of its return-to-play protocol on Monday and the 21-page document covers everything from tissue boxes to testing.

It’s perfectly reasonable to question the wisdom of forging ahead with a hockey season during a global pandemic. Having more than 500 players converge in two hub cities in front of no fans to play a two-month Stanley Cup tournament in the dead of summer? You’d be excused for wondering whether or not that is actually worth all the trouble.

Look, I’m not here to argue what level of moral ground the NHL occupies in pushing so hard to complete the 2019-20 campaign. And both they and the players are relying on the input from some of the world’s foremost experts in putting their return-to-play protocol in place. Truth be told, I’m still not convinced they can pull it off. But what I do know is that the league has worked in concert with the NHL Players’ Association like it never, ever has before, it has asked the right questions of the right people and it has done its homework.

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

This is not the equivalent of the president of one of the world’s superpowers hitting the golf course as his country’s death toll from COVID-19 approaches 100,000. Nor is it the equivalent of thousands of people in Canada’s largest city flocking to a public park and standing. If you want to take the NHL to task for its insistence on pushing ahead with this, that’s fair. But what the league and players cannot be accused of is doing so at all costs and proceeding willy-nilly in the face of science. Phase 2 of the return-to-play protocol, which was rolled out by the league Monday, is a clear example of that.

From insisting that supplements be made available in single-dispense packs to having two boxes of tissues affixed to each end of each players’ bench, the NHL and its players have left no stones unturned. The Phase 2 protocol is a 21-page document that covers every aspect of the process of starting to get NHL players back in game shape. Does that necessarily mean it will be able to do this without any COVID-19 related repercussions? Of course not. It’s something that the league acknowledges in the first paragraph on the first page. “This protocol, while very comprehensive, cannot mitigate all risk,” the protocol states. “A range of clinical scenarios exist, from very mild to fatal outcome.” It goes on to say that the virus generally affects older age groups and those with previously existing medical conditions, but acknowledges that players might have someone in their household in a vulnerable category. That’s why Phase 2 is voluntary.

The league is hoping to transition to Phase 2 sometime next week and it will involve small-group workouts, a maximum of six players per session with no coaches on the ice. Each player taking part in Phase 2 will be tested 48 hours prior to reporting to the workout facility and twice per week after that. Subject to scheduling and availability, players will be given access to team facilities in the cities in which they reside if they haven’t left their home city. And the league has ensured that everything be done in accordance with all levels of health authorities. There is a framework to do this safely and every possible scenario has been thought-out, with the flexibility to apply this locally. You can make this work for almost any training environment.

It is not perfect, but in an era in which we’re still without a vaccine, there’s always going to be some uncertainty and risk. And if you want to have NHL hockey during this interim period, this is about as safe as it’s going to get for the players and team personnel. The attention to detail is impressive and there has been a good appreciation for the big-picture issues. Perhaps the most telling thing about the protocol is the appreciation that not all training facilities are going to be the same, so there’s flexibility within the protocol to adapt to the local environment. The league has also been consistent in ensuring it doesn’t drain public resources, particularly when it comes to testing.

“It’s so regionally dependent right now,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at Toronto General Hospital. “If you ask this question right now, ‘Can everyone get a test twice a week?’ The answer would be, ‘Maybe in some places, but certainly not in all. But ask that same question a week, two weeks, three weeks from now and you’re going to see tremendous growth in testing capacity across the board. It is being scaled up dramatically just about everywhere in North America. To have some semblance of a return to normalcy will hinge on many different factors and one of those factors is access to diagnostic testing. It’s really one of the pillars to epidemic management.”

Read more from The Hockey News
*Five Solutions for Deciding Who Wins Your Fantasy Pool
*Making the Case for the Bruins as 2020 Stanley Cup Champs
*Requiem for a Fallen College Hockey Program

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Ewing Jr: Father home after hospitalization – TSN

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Georgetown basketball coach and former NBA great Patrick Ewing has been released from the hospital and is recovering from COVID-19 at home, his son said Monday.

The 57-year-old Hall of Famer, who played for the Hoyas in college and the New York Knicks in the NBA, announced Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and was being treated at a hospital.

Patrick Ewing Jr. said three days later on Twitter that his father was getting better after receiving treatment and thanked the doctors and nurses who looked after him during his hospital stay. He also thanked fans for their thoughts and prayers after his father’s announcement.

“My father is now home and getting better,” Ewing Jr. wrote. “We’ll continue to watch his symptoms and follow the CDC guidelines. I hope everyone continues to stay safe and protect yourselves and your loved ones.”

As a player, the 7-foot Patrick Ewing helped Georgetown win the 1984 NCAA men’s basketball championship and reach two other title games. During his four years playing, Georgetown went 121-23, a winning percentage of .840.

He was taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1985 draft after the Knicks won the NBA’s first lottery. Ewing wound up leading New York to the 1994 NBA Finals, where they lost to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets.

Ewing played 17 seasons in the NBA, 15 with the Knicks.

After retiring as a player, he spent 15 years as an assistant or associate coach with four teams in the pros. In April 2017, he returned to Georgetown for his first job as a head coach at any level.

In his first three seasons at his alma mater, Ewing’s teams went a combined 49-46, with zero trips to the NCAA Tournament.

In 2019-20, Georgetown finished the season with seven consecutive losses and a 15-17 record.

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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BKFC to up $20 million offer to Mike Tyson, Wanderlei Silva pitched as potential foe – MMA Fighting

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Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship will next week issue another offer to Mike Tyson in hopes of bringing the 53-year-old boxing legend out of retirement.

BKFC President David Feldman told MMA Fighting the contract will exceed the $20 million offered to Tyson earlier this month, adding additional sweeteners that include charitable donations. He said he wasn’t able to provide the exact value of the contract because it’s still being finalized.

“I think I know what we need to do to make this thing happen,” Feldman said.

The race to get Tyson back into the ring has heated up ever since the former champ signaled his desire to compete again, potentially in a charity match. Several promoters, including BKFC, have jumped into the mix with million-dollar offers, and fighters from across the combat spectrum have volunteered themselves as opponents.

UFC Hall of Famers Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock were among those who expressed interest in a potential fight, regardless of the medium. On Sunday, Ortiz claimed someone close to Tyson had inquired about a potential matchup; Ortiz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Feldman said matching Tyson with “the right kind of guy” is central to BKFC’s offer, and an opponent like former PRIDE champ Wanderlei Silva, who immediately reached out to BKFC after the offer to Tyson, is right now a more desirable matchup than Ortiz.

“I didn’t offer that (to Ortiz),” Feldman said. “I don’t know that it really draws. I think a Wanderlei Silva, someone of that nature. No matter how old Silva gets, he’s dangerous, and I think that would be an intriguing matchup. Something like that, but I don’t actually have anything in mind right now.”

Ortiz most recently fought this past December, submitting Alberto Del Rio inside one round in Combate America’s inaugural pay-per-view event. The ex-UFC champ has talked up a rematch with Silva, whom he defeated in the octagon in 2000. Silva most recently fought in 2018, losing a second-round TKO to rival Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

“First, I want to see if we can make the Mike thing happen, period, and then we’ll start talking opponents,” Feldman said. “We’re not successful yet in making that Mike thing happen. But I don’t think the door’s shut.

“He did say no immediately. But I think there’s room there.”

Tyson, who retired after quitting on his stool during a 2005 boxing match against McBride, recently talked up a charity rematch with boxing rival Evander Holyfield. Retired boxer Shannon Briggs also has claimed he’s already signed an offer to fight Tyson in an exhibition match.

“There are a lot of people out there that need help, and something like that could help a lot of people, that’s in need for help,” he told TMZ.

Feldman said BKFC will restart its event promotion schedule on June 26 with enhanced safety measures in place to address the threat of the COVID-19 virus. A location has not yet been finalized.

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