Mo Bamba Had COVID-19, Led To Conditioning Issues

Magic center Mohamed Bamba contracted COVID-19 in June, which led to subsequent conditioning issues and a large reduction in playing time during the restart, Josh Robbins of The Athletic reports.

Bamba’s demotion to third-string center behind Nikola Vucevic and Khem Birch was one of the mysteries of the restart. The revelation by the No. 6 overall pick of the 2018 draft of his positive coronavirus test earlier this summer shed more light on the situation.

The illness led to fatigue and muscle soreness and temporarily removed Bamba’s senses of smell and taste, according to Robbins. His lack of playing time — he’s only made brief appearances in two of Orlando’s four seeding games — led to his decision to make his diagnosis public. He saw action in 60 games this season prior to the suspension of play.

“Part of me is reading the temperature of the room and just knowing that there are definitely going to be questions, and sometimes you’ve just got to address them with honesty,” Bamba said. “In this case, I think it’s best for them to have that context and have that understanding of what, exactly, is going on. I want people to know that I’m still working as hard as ever, if not even harder, and I’ll get through this.”

Due to his illness, Bamba was unable to go through individual workouts at the Magic’s practice facility prior to team’s arrival on the Disney campus. He also had a pair of false positive tests once he was on the campus, forcing him to go into additional quarantine and causing him to miss three days of practice.

Subsequently, he’s been relegated to spot duty due to conditioning issues. Bamba had been bulking up before the diagnosis, putting on 20 pounds. He’s had trouble carrying that extra weight without steady exercise.

He feels he’s ready to contribute if called upon.

“I was frustrated because I really felt ready to contribute like I was earlier in the year,” Bamba said. “But the medical staff is in the perfect place to protect me, so I have to follow their guidelines. It really kills me to be sitting there, but at the same time, it’s also really motivating. When you’re sitting out, you can see the game from different angles, different sights and sounds. Especially in the bubble, with no fans, you can really lock in on the game. But I know I have to stay focused, so whenever I’m called upon, I’m ready.”

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7 thoughts on “Mo Bamba Had COVID-19, Led To Conditioning Issues

  1. Reflect

    Kinda slimy of the team to demote him if COVID was the issue. They aren’t a legit contender and there is no chance of losing the 8 seed. They should be focused on building players up for next year.

    • Why is it slimy? He hasn’t been able to perform at his highest level because his conditioning was wrecked by having COVID and because he gained 20 pounds. He doesn’t seem bothered by it (he actually says it’s motivating him) and will likely be back at full strength next year.

    • x%sure

      There is a courtesy extended to starters about keeping their position through an injury, but Bamba is not a starter. I think the team should be more concerned about Khem Birch’s decline which does not have an answer. If Birch is better temporarily, he should get the chance, and not be locked to the bottom. Bamba has to get back to a level.

    • Magic 24/7

      No way. There are more factors at play than just Covid.

      First of all, Bamba had been on minutes restrictions most of the season. He was coming off of a leg stress fracture that ended his rookie year and kept him sidelined for most of his 1st NBA summer of development. That set his conditioning back and the FO was understandably cautious bringing him back. As the year went on, they gradually increased his minutes and role (back2backs etc.).

      Then the pandemic shut down the league.

      Over hiatus he worked on his body and gained 25lbs of muscle. This immediately put strain on body and conditioning + with recent lower body injury the FO had to be extra careful.

      Then he gets Covid. So now he has compound issues related to conditioning and managing weight stress on recent injured leg.

      The Magic are being cautious with him, exactly how they should be.

  2. El Don

    I would say you always, & I repeat always should address any questions with honesty! It really detracts a lot as a person to know that sometimes you aren’t telling us the truth for whatever reason you choose to! Honesty is always not only the best policy, it simply is the only policy in life my friend!

  3. nentwigs

    Let’s focus on NBA activity.
    Not former U S Presidents.

  4. Buckman

    Not surprising since we are discovering that COVID-19 affects more than just the lungs. I hope that he fully recovers!

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