Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter, left, feels when the Celtics land in Orlando and enter the NBA bubble, they will be fine. Players need to take care of themselves first by following the rules and doing what we’re supposed to do and wear a mask at the hotel and just social distance and stuff.” AJ Mast/Associated Press

They will be boarding a plane this week to take a trip unlike any other in sports history.

For a minimum of seven weeks, the Celtics will be staying at Disney World in central Florida, going through a training camp, eight regular-season games and then the NBA playoffs.

Should the Celtics advance to the second round and then the Eastern Conference finals, the length of the trip would rise to close to 11 weeks.

And through all of that time, the Celtics will be remaining at Disney World where the NBA is setting up a bubble in the hopes of keeping the coronavirus away from its teams in a bid to conclude a season that has been on hold since March.

The NBA has put together a 113-page manual with all of the do’s and don’ts, strict guidelines that must be followed to keep everyone safe.

There will be plenty of basketball for the Celtics, who are scheduled to head to Florida on Wednesday, but there will also be a lot of idle time. Guests of players would be allowed on site starting on Aug. 30.

Twenty-two teams will be at Disney World to finish the regular season and 16 will be on hand for the playoffs, which open Aug. 17. Each round will take up to two weeks with the second round starting around Aug. 31, the conference finals on Sept. 15 and the NBA finals on Sept. 30.

Game 7 of the championship series would be played on Oct. 12, so the two finalists are looking at nearly 14 weeks inside the bubble.
“Obviously, it’s a tough process for everybody,” said Celtics center Enes Kanter. “But with the setup in Orlando, I think we’re all going to be fine.

“The one thing we need to do, it all starts with ourselves. Players need to take care of themselves first by following the rules and doing what we’re supposed to do and wear a mask at the hotel and just social distance and stuff.”

The NBA will have 24-hour concierge service available for players, who will be allowed to use the Disney World golf courses during their time away from basketball.

There is also a bowling alley, salon services and a room to play video games, Ping-Pong and cards to pass the time. As one of the top-eight teams in the standings, the Celtics will be staying at the new Gran Destino Tower.

“All the players have a lot of stuff to do on the campus, like playing golf or good food,” said Celtics center Daniel Theis. “It’s also important that all the players and everybody in there follow the rules and don’t leave and try to sneak out. It’s not just a danger for him, but the whole NBA.

“I can only speak for myself and my team. Our players will follow the rules. I just hope players and the staff just follows the rules. It’s not about himself but he can get more people sick and the NBA season canceled. We’ve got to trust each other and follow the rules as much as possible.”

Celtics guard Kemba Walker said that he is a homebody, so staying in a hotel room for a long stretch won’t be difficult for him.

“I think we’re going to be pretty safe,” said Walker. “We’re going to be pretty secluded from everyone. I have no concerns. I’m fine.”

Allison Feaster, the Celtics director of player development, found things for players to stay busy with while they were quarantined at home and is putting together a plan for Orlando.

“(She) has started creating programming throughout our time in Orlando that I think is critical,” said Coach Brad Stevens. “We’re in great hands with her leading that. That’s going to be important to us all, not only players but staff as well.

“The NBA’s doing a ton of things to prepare for it, obviously everything from having mental wellness at the forefront of everybody’s mind to all the different activities that we will be able to do inside the bubble to gyms that are going to be available on off times, etc.”

Theis, who is from Germany, said that his best friend, Gonzaga product Elias Harris, was part of the Germany league’s restart recently with 10 teams staying in the same hotel.

“It worked out pretty well,” said Theis. “They got tested the same way. They had no positive tests. It was only three or four weeks, but it worked out. I have confidence the system in Orlando is going to be good for everybody.”

The key will be staying as active as possible during the time when there are no games or practices.

The Celtics start practicing later this week after getting tested for the coronavirus upon arriving in Orlando. There will be scrimmages on July 24 against Oklahoma City, July 26 against Phoenix and July 28 against the Houston Rockets.

The season resumes on July 31 against the Milwaukee Bucks, kicking off eight games in 14 days, then there will be three days off to prepare for the playoffs.

“I am outgoing, but I don’t need to go out,” said Kanter. “It’s a big sacrifice for the players to stay in their room for two months. But everyone has to do their part to keep the team safe.

“It won’t be a problem for me. I’m just going to stay in the room. We have one goal. Until we reach that goal, I think everyone has to sacrifice.”

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