Raptors lead the way as Ontario eases restrictions on team training facilities

Raptors lead the way as Ontario eases restrictions on team training facilities

TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors will move a baby step closer to normalcy Monday with the reopening of their training centre for voluntary individual workouts.

The Ontario government paved the way Friday, easing restrictions on pro sports teams by allowing them to open their training facilities providing they follow their league’s ”established health and safety protocols” in response to COVID-19.

The Raptors said the OVO Athletic Centre will reopen Monday for individual on-court sessions, with strict guidelines in place.

The NBA suspended its season on March 11 after Utah Jazz all-star centre Rudy Gobert tested positive for the novel coronavirus. It ordered teams to close their facilities eight days later.

The defending champion Raptors (46-18) have not played since a 101-92 win at Utah on March 9. Players and staff were tested in the aftermath of the game because of the positive Gobert test.

There is no word on resumption of play with NBA commissioner Adam Silver saying repeatedly that the league is not yet in a position to make any such decision.

Friday, however, was circled as the league’s earliest date to open team training facilities.

Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, said the NBA had taken “a leading role” in regards its health and safety protocols.

She said she is working with Major League Baseball’s Blue Jays, the NHL’s Maple Leafs and Senators and the CFL’s Argonauts, Tiger-Cats and Redblacks as well as others “on what a safe return would look like for them.”

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