Prior to the Denver Nuggets’ official after practice Zoom call with local and national media, the Nuggets social team released two very important pictures of what was happening on the Orlando campus.
Look who's here...#MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/u4FNdOY3fm— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) July 14, 2020
That’s right folks: Nikola Jokic is officially at the Walt Disney World campus.
The star Serbian center officially cleared quarantine after three negative COVID-19 tests administered by the NBA and health officials. Jokic stayed in his room for three days before finally emerging on Tuesday afternoon to observe Nuggets practice. He won’t officially be cleared to play until he passes some physical tests the Nuggets will administer over the next day or so.
Denver's Nikola Jokic has been on the Disney campus since Saturday to satisfy his quarantine requirements, according to a league source, and emerged from that quarantine today as pictured— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 14, 2020
Jokic addressed the media after practice today for the first time since March when the NBA shut down. He spoke candidly about his positive coronavirus test, played coy with his weight and official workouts during quarantine that caused a picture to go viral last month, and joked with the media in a jovial manner.
How Jokic ultimately found out he was positive for coronavirus was interesting.
“I need to do a test before going to the airport to leave the country,” Jokic explained. “If I wasn’t coming here, I wouldn’t do the test, so it was kind of weird because I was feel good. I was feeling normal.”
“I was a little surprised to be honest, because literally I had a normal day, a routine. I had a workout I had everything, and they called me and they said I am positive.”
Ultimately, Jokic expressed that his quarantine period following the positive test wasn’t stressful at all, that it was actually a small vacation with his girlfriend around in their place in Serbia. He was in high spirits with the media and explained what needed to be explained.
This was the first time in a long time Nikola Jokic has seen any player or coach with the Nuggets in person for a long time.
“It was great to see him,” head coach Michael Malone said about Jokic’s arrival in Orlando. “I can sense the relief of him being here finally, getting here and going through all of the different things: requirements, protocols, procedures, whatever you want to call it.”
“I think I can speak for everybody on our staff, our roster: having him around is just very uplifting.”
Malone continued about ensuring health for Jokic and the rest of the roster during this ramp-up period.
“We have not played live basketball in over four months, so we are going to be very smart about how we approach this,” Malone explained to the media following a question about any health concerns surrounding Jokic and the rest of the roster. “Yesterday, we gave our guys an off day, a well-deserved off day after three really good practices.”
The Nuggets are very clearly excited that Nikola is back with the team where he belongs, and Nuggets fans can officially breathe a sigh of relief. The best player is officially in the bubble and getting cleared to play basketball again. Some normalcy may be on the way as well.