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Health concerns will be front and center for NBA players, teams

Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Health & Fitness

LOS ANGELES -- When the Lakers announced in March that two of their players had tested positive for COVID-19, many people worried about center JaVale McGee. People he knew shared their concern with him. People he didn't know speculated about him on Twitter.

Their apprehension stemmed from the fact McGee has asthma, a respiratory condition that could make a person at higher risk for developing complications like pneumonia from COVID-19, which is a respiratory illness. McGee had pneumonia in December 2018 that led to a three-day hospital stay as he recovered.

"Yeah, I mean everybody was worried about me," McGee said earlier this month. "But nothing happened so ..."

McGee said he was not one of the two Lakers who tested positive -- their identities remain unknown -- and the incident didn't scare him. He said he has not tried to dramatically change his lifestyle during the pandemic because he was a homebody anyway.

He never had qualms about returning to play in Florida when the NBA resumes the season with games beginning July 30.

"I'm definitely comfortable," McGee said. "We've been away for a while now and we've been COVID-free for this long. I definitely think we'll be OK as long as we take the necessary precautions."

 

It might not be McGee's choice.

According to people with knowledge of the situation and the NBA's health and safety manual that The Los Angeles Times reviewed, Lakers doctors could "protect" McGee and any other players they deem to be at high risk. A week ago, players had to complete a three-page medical questionnaire and team doctors must evaluate them by Thursday.

Among the questions for players and traveling staff was whether or not the person has or had suffered from moderate to severe asthma.

Houston's James Harden and Brooklyn's DeAndre Jordan are among the other NBA players who have asthma.

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