Nets’ star forward Kevin Durant returned to the team’s starting lineup on Sunday after missing the last four games due to contact tracing. KD was one of the Nets players that originally tested positive for the virus back in March when the NBA season came to a screeching halt. While we continue to find out new things about the Coronavirus every day nothing can be assumed as KD found out when he was required to self-quarantine for seven days.
Durant Was Surprised by His Contact Tracing
“I didn’t feel like I was going to get COVID-19 again,” Durant said on a Zoom call with reporters after Sunday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. “I knew that I had it before. I have the antibodies and I didn’t come in contact with too many people, and I felt confident I’d have negative tests.” One concern about players having to undergo seven-day quarantine is about them staying in game shape during their time away from their respective teams. KD however was not fazed by the time away.
In his return to the court, KD dropped a season-high 36 points in to go along with 11 rebounds and 4 assists. No sign of rust in sight for the 2014 NBA MVP. “I was able to get some work in at the house,” KD continued. “Weights, treadmill, stuff like that to keep me in shape. But there is nothing like game shape. It’s good I’ll be able to get to practice tomorrow with the guys.”
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While having to quarantine is understandably frustrating for KD and others who have had to isolate, it is apart of the new reality that we all are living in. “I wouldn’t say it was a struggle,” Kevin said to reporters over Zoom. “I definitely would’ve loved to be out there with my teammates, but COVID put us under these circumstances and a lot of guys around the league are under the protocol. It is something we knew coming into the season that may happen. So, I wasn’t too upset about it, but I’m glad I’m back playing though.”
Playing in NBA Arenas Has Been a Struggle
The NBA had an unfathomably successful NBA Bubble, rendering zero positive COVID tests over the summer during the league’s time on the Walt Disney Campus. Now that games are back to being played in arenas the NBA has had to start biting down even more to protect both the players and its employees. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, some of the new rules that the league is enforcing as per it’s modified health and safety protocols include only being allowed to elbow or fist bump when socializing pre-and post-game and maintain six feet of distance. In addition, all NBA players must wear masks on the bench at all times, including the locker room.
While the league would like to continue playing games in the teams’ respective arenas if contact tracing continues to occur amongst the NBA players they may have no choice but to return to the bubble.
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