Durant among 4 Nets to test positive for new coronavirus

Kevin Durant has the coronavirus. (AFP/GETTY)
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Updated 18 March 2020

Durant among 4 Nets to test positive for new coronavirus

  • The Nets said that all players and members of their travel party are being asked to remain isolated

NEW YORK: Four Brooklyn Nets players, including Kevin Durant, have tested positive for the new coronavirus, bringing the total to seven known players in the NBA.
The Nets did not name the players Tuesday, but Durant told The Athletic he was one of them, saying: “Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine. We’re going to get through this.”
The Nets announced that one player is exhibiting symptoms, while the other three are asymptomatic. All four players have been isolated and are under the care of team physicians.
“The health of our players and staff is of the highest priority to the organization and the team is doing everything within its power to ensure that those affected receive the best care possible,” the Nets said in a statement.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.
The Nets said that all players and members of their travel party are being asked to remain isolated and closely monitor their health, but the team’s ability to get testing that has been unavailable to so many others drew criticism from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“We wish them a speedy recovery. But, with all due respect, an entire NBA team should NOT get tested for COVID-19 while there are critically ill patients waiting to be tested,” de Blasio wrote on Twitter. “Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick.”
Brooklyn last played on March 10 in Los Angeles, beating the Lakers. The Nets were then to face the Golden State Warriors two nights later in San Francisco — a game that was to be played without fans — before the NBA season was suspended after Utah’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Durant was in Los Angeles for the Nets’ game against the Lakers, but was not in San Francisco for the game against the Warriors, his former club.
“I saw that news,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of the Nets’ positive tests while speaking on a conference call. “I’m hoping none of our players went and hung out with guys the night before our game. I don’t know if that’s the case or not.”
Kerr added that he didn’t need to be convinced that suspending the season was the correct decision.
“I think everything that’s happened since the league shut down was enough proof that we did the right thing, that the NBA did the right thing and that we need to follow the advice of the experts out there and everybody’s got to do their part,” Kerr said.
Meanwhile, the NBA’s board of governors met again Tuesday for what a person familiar with the details of the call categorized as an “update” on the pandemic and the league’s response. Among the speakers addressing team owners was former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, who served during President Barack Obama’s second term and discussed the US response to the virus, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the call’s details were not released publicly.
Besides the four Nets and Gobert, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Detroit’s Christian Wood are the other NBA players who have tested positive.
The Nets said they are currently notifying anyone who has had known contact with the players, including recent opponents, and working closely with state and local health authorities on reporting.


Atletico catching all the breaks in Champions League

Updated 12 August 2020

Atletico catching all the breaks in Champions League

  • A victory against Leipzig will put Atletico back in the semifinals for the first time since 2017

LISBON: So far so good for Atletico Madrid in the quest for their first Champions League title.

Diego Simeone’s team have caught all the breaks going into the decisive final-eight tournament in Lisbon.

Old foes Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo are gone. They drew Leipzig instead of a more traditional powerhouse for the quarterfinals. And their rival lost its top player after Timo Werner left for Chelsea. Even when things went wrong and the squad was hit by COVID-19, Atletico avoided the worst as only two players were infected and they could still make the trip to Portugal.

Things have been looking good for Simeone and his players.

A victory against Leipzig on Thursday will put Atletico back in the semifinals for the first time since it was eliminated by Ronaldo’s Madrid in the last four in 2017. Ronaldo and Madrid had defeated Atletico in the final in 2014 and 2016, and also ended the rival’s run in the quarterfinals in 2015.

Ronaldo again was Atletico’s nemesis last season after joining Juventus. Atletico lost to the Italian team in the round of 16 after Ronaldo scored a hat trick in the decisive second leg in Turin.

But this time Ronaldo and Juventus were eliminated by Lyon in the last 16, the same stage in which Madrid were knocked out of the tournament by Manchester City. Only two past champions are still left in the competition — Barcelona and Bayern Munich — and they play against each other in the opposite side of the draw, meaning Atletico could only meet one of them in the final.

Leipzig are a relative newcomer to the Champions League, having reached the group stage only twice. This is the first time they made it to the knockout round. They eliminated Tottenham in the round of 16, but now they won't count on top scorer Werner, who did not extend his contract by a few weeks to finish the season with the German club before moving to Chelsea.

Atletico stunned defending European champion Liverpool in the last 16, advancing after a 3-2 win in England.

“The game against Liverpool will go down in history and was one of the best we’ve had in a long time,” Atletico striker Diego Costa said. “It gave fans high expectations and we will give our best to try to meet those expectations. Hopefully we will play well and luck will stay on our side.”

Costa said Atletico will not take Leipzig lightly despite  the rival’s lack of experience in international competitions.

“They are very strong on the ball and know what they are about,” he said. “They have made it to the quarterfinals and have no pressure.”

There was a scare within Atletico this week when it announced two positive test results for COVID-19 among the group that was traveling to Lisbon. There were concerns that an outbreak within the club could have affected the team’s participation in the tournament in Portugal, but new tests showed that only Ángel Correa and Sime Vrsaljko were infected and the squad could travel to Lisbon.

Vrsaljko was not even going to play because he is nursing an injury, while Correa isn't among Atletico’s top stars even though he led the team in assists this season.

After coming agonizingly close recently, Atletico hope the breaks will keep going their way and that they  will finally get to lift the coveted European trophy.