Nikola Jokic, 6 Other Players Tested Positive For COVID-19
The NBA has set a timetable for its return with the league planning to return on July 31, and as the grand comeback approaches, strict safety measures must be followed religiously. Part of the plan is to regularly test all players, coaches, and staff attending the event at Disney Resort in Orlando.
While the testing is ongoing, several NBA players tested positive for COVID-19 in the last few weeks. More NBA players have followed with positive tests since Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert tested positive in March.
The latest on the tally is 25-year old Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, who currently resides in Serbia. Jokic is set to return to the U.S. when the league allowed all teams to start practicing. He was supposed to travel to Denver this week, but Jokic tested positive and has been asymptomatic.
ESPN’s NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported the devastating news on Twitter last night while sharing the NBA’s testing plans in Orlando:
“Reporting with @WindhorstESPN: Nuggets star Nikola Jokic tested positive for the coronavirus in Serbia and his return to the U.S. is temporarily delayed. He’s been asymptomatic since testing positive last week. Jokic is expected to be cleared to travel to Denver within a week.”
Aside from Jokic, six other NBA players tested positive. Teams refused to reveal the name of the players, but two of them are from Phoenix Suns. One Western Conference playoff team also reported four positive tests over the past few weeks. The Suns have been holding voluntary team workouts in Phoenix, Arizona. Several media outlets reported that Mikal Bridges, Elie Okobo, Frank Kaminsky III, Dario Saric, Jevon Carter, Aron Baynes, Jalen Lecque, and Cheick Diallo have attended the training.
The NBA is on its second day of testing, and teams are bracing for more positive cases this week. Players and staff who tested negative can head to Orlando after reporting to their team’s facilities. All 22 teams can travel starting July 7. Full training camps start on July 11.
As per the NBA’s current guidelines, players are not required to participate in the season comeback. Players who wish to play have until Wednesday, June 24, to inform their teams whether or not they will be returning once the season restarts in July.