Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone said he hopes to have star center Nikola Jokic back with the team in the next few days.
Jokic is healthy and retested negative, according to a source, but he did not travel with the Nuggets on their team flight to Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday due to travel issues.
The Nuggets went through their first practice in Orlando on Friday without the All-Star, but Malone hopes there won’t be that many more practices without Jokic.
“The hope is that he will be here soon,” Malone said on a Zoom call with reporters after practice at the Walt Disney World resort. “I have spoken to him many times. I know he’s excited and looking forward to getting down here. He’s healthy, he feels great, hopefully he will be here soon in the next couple of days.”
Sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst last month that Jokic tested positive for the coronavirus while in Serbia and that his return to the United States was temporarily delayed. Jokic had to produce two negative coronavirus tests in Serbia before traveling to the United States, where he needed two more negative tests.
The Nuggets were then among teams to close their team facilities before departing for Florida last week after two members of the team’s 35-member traveling party tested positive for the coronavirus, sources told Wojnarowski.
“We don’t have our whole team down here,” Malone said. “And we are not giving any details on that. We are waiting for some of our players to get down here. But with the players that we have, we are treating it as an opportunity to get back in the gym to reconnect on the court, get some conditioning in, get some competitive drills in and revisiting offensive and defensive fundamentals and foundational parts of our team.”