Business as Usual

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Despite Positive COVID-19 Tests, Raptors Hold First Practice of Camp

Despite three positive COVID-19 tests, the Toronto Raptors were back to business on Tuesday.

Inside of their new home in Tampa, Florida, the Raptors held their first practice of training camp as they began to integrate the new pieces they acquired over the offseason into their system.

“You kinda get used to it,” said Raptors head coach Nick Nurse. “I don’t know if it’s handling whatever’s being thrown at you, or if it’s putting it in a certain compartment and handling that and moving forward with basketball. That’s kind of what it seems like to me. There seems to be many things that are going on, even with relocating [to Tampa] or whatever it is. There is time and energy spent there, [but] you put that to the side and you get to your film-watching and your practice-planning and your making-players-better thoughts.”

It has not been revealed as to who tested positive for the coronavirus, but the organization is optimistic that they will begin the regular season at full health. Aron Baynes, one of the team’s newest members, tested positive for the virus over the Summer and commented on his experience.

“The worst thing about it was the stress of initially not knowing if I was going to pass it on to my family,” said the 33-year-old Australian big man. “At the time when I was first diagnosed, my wife was pregnant, so she was in the high-risk category. My daughter has asthma, so she was in the high-risk category. And then all the unknowns of what it was going to do to children and adults alike, but definitely the kids, we were definitely worried about what was going to happen. As much as it knocked me on my butt any moment that I was awake, it was just complete dread as to what was going to happen for them, for their safety.”

“Because I know how it felt to worry about it, it’s something we take seriously to this day… We don’t want to put others in the same position that our family went through.”

While by no means a reason to pound the alarm, Nurse believes that the positive tests helped bring awareness on the matter as the team is set to embark on yet another strange season with no knowledge of when they will be able to return home to Toronto.

“I don’t think it feels like a wake-up call, but I think it does add a sense of awareness,” said Nurse. “I think a lot of things do. You look around and see something happen in another sport, or another team, or college, or whatever, and you’re getting these awareness reminders because it’s kinda what’s going on. That’s the way things are moving in the world of sports right now. But yeah, it hits a little closer to home. Do I get in front of the team and have some commentary on it? Yeah, I do, and that’s probably because of those results coming in. I envision myself having to do that, not every day but maybe every other.”

If there is any team that can handle a season such as this, it is a veteran group like the Raptors!

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