WASHINGTON, USA – The Boston Celtics began mandatory workouts Wednesday, July 1, in preparation for the NBA restart in Orlando, and coach Brad Stevens said so far none of the team's players has tested positive for coronavirus.
Stevens spoke to reporters on a Zoom conference and said the team had begun testing players, coaches and staff on June 23 and so far had reported a clean bill of health.
Nor have any Celtics players indicated they will opt out of the NBA's "bubble" restart that will gather 22 teams in Orlando, Florida, to play a string of regular-season contests and the playoffs.
"We’re testing every other day and, knock on wood, none so far," Stevens said, according to CBS Boston. "It's important that we all take care of ourselves and do everything we can to go into the bubble healthy.
"Those first couple of weeks of practice are going to be important getting our legs underneath us. Once you get into practice and really playing, it's a different kind of level you have to reach."
The Celtics are scheduled to arrive in Orlando on July 8, and Stevens said players had done a good job of staying in shape while observing various local lockdown rules on their own.
Star guard Kemba Walker told reporters it was a "different shape" to game fitness.
"But we're getting there, slowly but surely."
Stevens said he will try to slowly get players ready to play every other day once the NBA restarts.
"We have to be ready for that kind of schedule," he said.
The NBA's restart schedule calls for teams to play 8 "seeding games" which will effectively wrap up the regular season, with playoffs to begin on August 17. (SCHEDULE: 2020 NBA seeding games, Philippine time)
The Celtics are among 6 of the 9 Eastern Conference teams that head to Orlando assured of a playoff spot.
They are in third place in the East, 3 games behind the second-placed defending champion Toronto Raptors and 2 1/2 games ahead of the fourth-placed Miami Heat.
"We want to be at our best on August 17," Stevens said. "The seeding games are important for everyone who is there, but at the same time the most important time will be August 17." – Rappler.com