Can A Basketball Player Go Out Of Bounds And Come Back In?

Out of bounds means being outside of the playing lines of the field.

However, many sports require a very active and chaotic game which results in players and/or the ball stepping out of the lines.

In basketball, when the ball rolls out of bounds, it will be thrown back into the court and obtained by the first player touching it. The player has 5 seconds to throw back the ball.

Otherwise, it will go to the other side. And if any side continues delaying the play, the referee will call a foul on that side.

In today’s article, I will dive deeper into basketball rules and explain what exactly happens when a player goes out of bounds. Can a basketball player go out of bounds and come back in? Let’s find out together!

What Happens If A Basketball Player Goes Out Of Bounds?

The playing lines of a basketball court point out where players and/or balls shouldn’t go! And of course, rules apply for players and what happens when they go out of bounds.

When the ball goes out of bounds, a throw-in or jump ball is utilized to put the ball back into play. Now, let’s learn more about rules associated with players going out of bounds.

Basketball playing boundaries

The court consists of boundary lines with baselines and sidelines. A player is considered out of bounds if they cross or step on the borderlines with their feet or anything that’s out of play.

Out of bounds rules

When researching boundary lines in basketball and rules for players who go out of bounds, you can get easily confused. Here’s a summary of the crucial out-of-bounds rules you need to know.

  • If you cross or step on the boundary lines, you’re out of bounds.
  • If you touch something out of bounds, you’re out of bounds.
  • As long as your feet don’t touch the floor, you can jump in the air out of bounds to keep the ball inbound.
  • If the ball touches a player, part of the floor, or objects that’s out of bounds, it’s out of bounds.
  • If the ball goes behind the backboard, it’s out of bounds.
  • You made the ball roll out of bounds if you interacted with it last.
  • You made the ball roll out of bounds, although someone on the opposite team forced any part of your body into it.
  • If a player goes out of bounds and then is the first one to touch it after returning inbounds, it’s a violation.
  • It’s a turnover and the opposite team gets the ball if a player obtains the ball and goes out of bounds.
  • If a player goes out of bounds without the ball, they can go back inbounds at any time but they can’t influence the play or touch the ball until they have rejoined inbounds by placing their feet within the borderlines. If a player goes out of bounds and touches or interferes with the ball, the opposite team gets the ball.
  • The possession of the ball can alter fluidly while it’s in play. That means that both teams can steal the ball. But if it rolls out of bounds, then the team that interacted with the ball last passes the ball to the other team.


Also known as inbound passes, throw-ins help to place the ball back into play after it rolls out of bounds. The referee will give the ball to the team that obtains possession at the nearest sideline place.

When performing a throw-in, the player stands out of bounds and throws the ball to a teammate who’s inbounds. While they throw the ball, their feet should be planted. There’s typically a defender who tries to cover inbound passes and steal the ball during the throw-in. It’s usually a very tall defender.

Jump balls

If a referee can’t determine which team caused the ball to roll out of bounds, a jump ball is performed to place the ball into play.

Usually, a jump ball is a last resort when even a visual rewind doesn’t provide clear results. Typically, teams will send their tallest player to perform the jump ball.

A referee throws the ball in the air and two picked players from both teams try to guide it towards their teammates. A jump ball is the easiest way to determine which team obtains the ball. Jump balls happen at the start of games as well. Now, let’s throw a glance at the official basketball rules.

What Official Rules Say?

Can A Basketball Player Go Out Of Bounds And Come Back In?

While any part of your body goes out of bounds, you’re not allowed to interact with the ball. That’s what the official rules of basketball say.

However, other rules apply if a player goes out of bounds without the ball. They can re-enter at any time, rejoin the game and touch the ball.

Establishing position

The position of a player’s feet before they touch the ball determines if they’re in or out of bounds. So, if a player goes out of bounds to interact with the ball before the ball rolls inbounds, it’s a turnover.

Also, players can’t jump from inside the court and interact with the ball as long as they’re not touching it when they go out of bounds. A player can redirect a ball that was moving out of bounds toward another player from his team to prevent a turnover.

Rules comparisons

Basketball has different rules about players leaving and rejoining the playfield than some other sports. For instance, in football, if you leave the field without being forced out, you become ineligible. And any pass you catch will be waived off.

Basketball inbound rules

It’s not that unusual for players in basketball, a game with so much movement, to go out of bounds. And when that occurs, or after a made basket, the opposite team has to toss it back into the field to continue the game going. Basketball has multiple rules (mentioned above) for a fair game.

Inbounding the ball

A player can inbound the ball to another player as they go over the out-of-bounds line. They can either jump or move their feet and even back off as long as they stay in a three-foot broad place on both sides. However, if they move out of that place, it’s immediately a turnover.

The 5-second rule

The moment the referee passes the in-bounder the ball, they have 5 seconds to throw it back into play. If it’s being placed back in play because of a violation, the clock won’t start ticking until it’s touched by someone on the floor. The 5-second count is on, and It’s a turnover if the player doesn’t beat the count.

Defensive rules

The defender can’t go over the out-of-bounds lines to interact with the ball or interfere with the player. Otherwise, they get a warning the first time, and a technical foul the second time.

Can You Travel Out Of Bounds In Basketball?

Yes, you can travel out of bounds in basketball. The player moving the ball out of bounds should remain within a three-foot place of the spot where the referee provides them the ball.

The player inbounding the ball can move both their feet or jump but if they move beyond the three-feet spot, it’s a turnover.

The opposing team can also move across the whole baseline when a basket is made trying to inbound the ball. The rule also applies when returning from a time out.

Can A Defensive Player Go Out Of Bounds And Come Back In?

According to the rules, a defensive player can’t go out of bounds to obtain the ball or interfere with the player. First, they will get a warning. Then, a technical foul.

However, you can freely move across the whole baseline when a basket is made, trying to inbound the ball. The rule also applies when returning from a time out.


In conclusion, a ball is out of bounds in basketball if it interacts with a player who’s also out of bounds or goes out of bounds on the ground.

It’s also out of bounds if it touches any of the objects behind the backboard or basket. And when the ball is out of bounds, whichever team placed it there, loses it.

If it’s impossible to determine which team sent it out of bounds, a jump ball will be performed. A player who’s out of bound can’t play the ball. However, as soon as they’re back inside with both feet inside the court, they can touch the ball again and get back into play.

Meaning, every player can run out of bounds but must rejoin the court before being able to play. Have I explained everything yet? Or do you have anything to add?

If so, drop a comment. Please, share your questions or any basketball information that I possibly missed below, and let’s continue the discussion.