Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said in a Zoom video conference call today that he anticipates the team’s lone All-Star, Nikola Jokic, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, will join Denver when the squad departs for Orlando next week, in comments captured by Nick Kosmider of The Athletic (Twitter link).
Malone acknowledged during the call that Denver’s practice facility is currently closed after there were “multiple” positive test results, but would not divulge which team personnel or players for the Nuggets tested positive, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
Jokic is not yet stateside. The 25-year-old seven-footer has been residing in his native Serbia since the middle of June, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.
“Next Tuesday, we depart for Orlando,” Malone said. “The hope and expectation is that Nikola Jokic will be with us on that plane.”
The 43-22 Nuggets are currently the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, behind the two star-studded Los Angeles clubs. This season, Jokic is averaging an eye-popping stat line of 20.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 6.9 APG.
Malone voiced his reservations about Disney employees being permitted to enter and depart the NBA’s proposed bubble — while NBA teams’ traveling parties are not — in an Orlando restart, per Kendra Andrews of The Athletic (Twitter link). The Nuggets head coach hopes that the NBA will make some adjustments to this component of the league’s un-pausing.