Northwest Notes: Rivers, Hyland, Bazley, Wolves

Following his first-hand experience with COVID-19, Nuggets guard Austin Rivers is worried about the increased effect it’s having on the league, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Rivers, who was asymptomatic at first, eventually developed body aches, headaches and breathing issues. He was able to return to the court Friday and expressed concern about the toll the virus is taking on many rosters.

“It’s getting a little bit out of hand in the NBA, to be honest with you,” Rivers said. “I don’t know what we gotta do, whether it’s go back to limiting who’s in the arena, or we gotta test every day. We definitely gotta go back, obviously, to testing every day. I think that’s what we’re doing. The numbers are just getting scary at this point. They’ve got all types of variants.”

Rivers played in the bubble setting in Orlando at the end of the 2019/20 season and said no one wants to bring that back. The Nuggets have emphasized responsible behavior to their players and staff members, but Rivers fears that the virus may be uncontrollable.

“What can we do to minimize chances of spread?” he said. “The problem is, a lot of this is on the onus of what you do when you leave the facility. No matter if we test, or mask, no mask, fans, no fans, at the end of the day, when guys go home, you don’t know what they’re doing, you don’t know whether they’re going out. … You’re gonna stop guys from going out? It’s impossible.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Rookie guard Bones Hyland said he learned a lesson after being benched for the Nuggets‘ game on Wednesday because of a violation of team rules, Singer adds in a separate story. Hyland and coach Michael Malone didn’t reveal any details about the infraction, but they both indicated it’s part of learning how to be an NBA player. “We’re a better team when Bones Hyland is available,” Malone said Friday. “He knows that. This is a learning process for all young men. Tonight, he’s back with the team, he learned his lesson, and he helps us get a really important road win.”
  • The Thunder pulled Darius Bazley from the starting lineup Saturday for the first time since he was a rookie, tweets Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Coach Mark Daigneault said Bazley accepted the decision “professionally” when he was told about it (Twitter link). “Anytime we make a decision, it’s under the presumption that it’s going to work,” Daigneault said. “If we didn’t think this had the potential to kickstart him and help him reach the capability he has a player, we wouldn’t do it.” (Twitter link)
  • The Timberwolves need another big man next to Karl-Anthony Towns and should be aggressive about pursuing Pacers center Myles Turner, contends La Velle E. Neal III of The Star-Tribune.
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