As expected, Thunder guard Dennis Schröder has left the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus in order to be with his wife for the birth of their second child, head coach Billy Donovan confirmed today, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
“It happened this morning so he’s with his family at this point in time,” Donovan said. “I’ll have a chance to probably talk to him and find out a little bit more, if it’s not later today, tomorrow. But right now for at least this game, he’ll be out. We’ll probably be able to gather some more information once we get a chance to spend a little bit more time with his over the phone.”
Shortly after the Thunder arrived at the NBA’s campus last month, Schröder indicated that he anticipated leaving in early August for the birth of his child, so his departure doesn’t come as a surprise.
A Sixth Man of the Year candidate, Schröder has enjoyed the best season of his career in 2019/20, averaging 18.9 PPG, 4.0 APG, and 3.7 RPG with career-best shooting percentages of 46.9% from the floor and 37.9% from beyond the arc.
The NBA’s protocols for leaving and re-entering the Disney campus call for a quarantine period of four days when a player returns. That quarantine period can be extended all the way up to 10-14 days if the player doesn’t test negative for COVID-19 each day that he’s away (or for seven consecutive days leading up to his return, if he’s gone for more than a week). However, it seems likely that Schröder will make sure to get tested daily during his absence.
Even if Schröder’s absence is brief, he’s probably on track to miss at least the Thunder’s games against Denver (today), the Lakers (Wednesday), and the Grizzlies (Friday).
Losing the veteran guard for a handful of their seeding games will create a tougher path for the Thunder as they look to improve their place in the standings. At 41-24, Oklahoma City currently ranks sixth in the West, but is just a half-game behind Utah and Houston and only 1.5 games behind the third-seeded Nuggets.