When the NBA announced plans to bring players back to their home markets and begin training camp before convening in Disney for the league’s restart, the expectation was that there would be positive COVID-19 tests. When the league’s first 300 tests returned with 16 positives, the league considered that a relatively positive sign, and up until Monday, Rudy Gobert remained the league’s lone known symptomatic positive test.
However, Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie announced on Monday, in a message to Shams Charania of The Athletic, that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and has had symptoms, including fever and chest tightness, and does not know if he’ll be able to join the team in Orlando following self-quarantine.
“Over the past few months, I have been diligent about protecting myself and others from COVID-19 by following all designated protocol and quarantining,” Dinwiddie told The Athletic. “I was ready and prepared to rejoin my teammates as we were to be an early entry team in the resumed season. I flew private to return to New York, passed multiple COVID-19 tests over my first several days in New York and was able to participate in a couple practices within the first week.
“Originally, we were supposed to be one of the teams to enter into the Orlando bubble early, but training camp got switched back to New York and unfortunately I am now positive. Given that I have experienced symptoms, including fever and chest tightness, it is unclear on whether or not I’ll be able to participate in Orlando.
“Hindsight is 20/20.”
Gobert experienced symptoms, including a loss of taste and smell, the latter of which he still says he’s not fully recovered, but the other known positive tests around the league had been asymptomatic cases. The hope is that Dinwiddie will have a mild case and make a full recovery, but it should be noted, even mild cases can still be very difficult and symptoms can last for a significant period of time. On top of that, the unknowns of the long-term effects of the virus remain a concern for some players, as decreased lung function and other issues have been reported in patients even after “recovery.”
Dinwiddie’s positive test also raises concerns about the league’s restart plans, as he passed multiple tests prior to a positive test and even practiced with the team. In theory, this would be mitigated by the bubble once they are there, but by allowing teams to reconvene in home markets prior to bringing everyone to Orlando, there are more opportunities for players to contract the virus outside their own facility.
The Nets, who are currently seventh in the East at 30-34, will restart play without Wilson Chandler, who opted out earlier this week, and now could find themselves going to Orlando without their starting point guard as well. The main concern is Dinwiddie’s long-term health, with basketball as a secondary concern, but Brooklyn may be significantly shorthanded when the restart arrives.