The ability of the novel coronavirus to cause devastating damage to the body is clear. However, it is still unknown what long-term damage getting infected might entail, according to NBA doctors.

At the recommendation of internal medical professionals, the league will require players who tested positive for COVID-19 to undergo cardiac screening before they are cleared to play.

According to CBS Sports, NBA doctors cited a research that shows potential long-term damage to both lungs and heart in coronavirus survivors. For world-class athletes in the NBA-Disney bubble who will need to play high-impact games less than a month after recovering from the virus, it is a risky proposition.

While it's still unclear if it would affect such athletes, a single health complication by a single player would impact all their careers moving forward.

Dr. Matthew Martinez, the NBA's consulting cardiologist also said, that the amount of cardiac damage increases while doing physical activities while infected. It is especially true for people with mild symptoms and asymptomatic players who are now trying to get back in shape to restart the 2019-2020 season.

He recommends that players who tested positive should be sidelined longer even after a cardiac screening. Last month, Dr. Dermot Phelan, cardiologist and director of the Sports Cardiology Center at Atrium Health's Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute released a statement saying "we have data from hospitalised patients that show between seven and 33 percent of people will have some cardiac injury after getting COVID-19."

If the data turns out to be true, most teams assume that players who tested positive with COVID-19 are potential health time bombs. While there are laws being crafted to prevent discrimination against COVID-19 survivors, the laws and reality are two different things.

As it is, NBA teams are looking to lose 40% of their projected revenue for the incoming 2020-2021 season. The league is looking into playing all of next season in a bubble environment. They are also finalising a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the players union proposing to reduce players' salaries by up to 20% for the incoming season.

While it is still unknown if world-class individuals who are the pinnacle of health will be affected by the coronavirus in the long-term, the league is not willing to put players' lives at risk. Commissioner Silver announced that the games will be shut down (again), if there's a significant outbreak in the bubble.

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert
The NBA shut down on March 11, 2020 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the novel coronavirus Photo: AFP / GEORGE FREY