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Indiana Pacers, NBA prep to return, playoffs

No Indiana Pacers player has tested positive for the coronavirus. One player, however, had some symptoms for about 24 hours. But the team’s medical staff deemed a test wasn’t necessary after that player stopped having symptoms the next day.

 

Indiana Pacers General Manager Kevin Pritchard discussed the pandemic and its effect on his team and the NBA in a Zoom call Tuesday afternoon.

 

"The players want to play. I think the thing I've gotten back from our players the last two weeks is that they want to prove it. They want to prove that this team is a good team in the playoffs," Pritchard said.

 

Pritchard says he is confident the NBA will take the right action in deciding on the appropriate time to return.

 

"Our commissioner (Adam Silver) is incredible. I have so much confidence that he's going to know and he's going to know when to take the appropriate risks. There are still going to be risks on the other side of this," said Pritchard.

 

The last game the Pacers played was March 10 against the Boston Celtics, which means they've been away from game action for over a month. If the virus eases up and the league does decide to resume play this year, the players will need time to re-train for regular season play.

 

"I think they're going to give us a good amount of time, but I don't think it's going to be a week. I would say two or three weeks minimum," Pritchard said.

 

Pritchard says the coaching staff and players are staying in touch through Zoom and Microsoft Team during the pandemic.

 

More from the Zoom Call:

-On concerns about guys staying in game shape: “Well, the first thing I’d say is the way you guys stay in game shape is you play in games. There’s nothing like being in game shape. But our strength and conditioning staff is in daily contact. They have given them programs. They are checking in on them every day. I think one of the things that has been the most challenging is getting a gym and being the only person in that gym. I know a couple of players that have found gyms that are going in super late at night, go in by themselves and getting their workout and then getting out of there. I applaud that. They are torn because they want to get into the gym. They want to get in a good workout. They want to be playing 1-on-1, 2-on-2, but I think the most important thing that they can possibly do is to adhere to the social distancing rules and get out of this as fast as we can. I know that there’s a poll to get them in to play 1-on-1, 2-on-2 and ultimately get them back into the gym but until we see what the league feels like is there program, and improvement, then we have to be very careful.”

 

-On the Pacers still in Indy and how long it would take for players to get back into game shape: “We do have a handful of players still in town. Some of them went back to their homes. Some of them wanted to be with their families during this time. What I kind of feel is that they are trickling back because I think once we open up in a small way, I think they can get back into our gym pretty easy. It’s easily accessible and it has everything that they need. There’s only been talk in terms of how long (it would take for players to get back into game shape). I don’t think it would be a week, and then let’s get back and play some games. I think they are going to give us a good amount of time but I don’t think it’s going to be a week. I think 2 or 3 weeks minimum and then play some games. But we have to be cautious because we have to get them back to a point where they are playing at the highest level, too. To throw them out there would be short-term thinking instead of being prepared to get out there and play at the highest level that they possibly can.”

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