BOSTON (CBS) — The coronavirus outbreak has everyone’s attention in the U.S., including the NBA. Many teams are already taking precautions as more and more cases are being reported around the country, including the Boston Celtics.
Ahead of Monday’s practice, the Celtics team doctor addressed players about the virus.
“We’re treating it from our standpoint a lot like we would if a player got the flu. He gave all the facts and all the data and all the stats, how to treat it and how to avoid it,” head coach Brad Stevens told reporters, who were greeted with some hand sanitizer as they walked into the Auerbach Center on Monday.
“Just wash your hands a lot,” Stevens urged. “You’re hopeful that it doesn’t hit anybody, but inevitably I think all the medical facilities here will be prepared for that. Our doctors are great, so we feel well prepared for it.”
Players around the league are taking note of the spread, with Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum taking to Twitter over the weekend to say he won’t be signing autographs for the time being.
The Corona Virus has officially hit Oregon. More specifically Lake Oswego…Make sure y’all washing y’all hands with soap for 20 or more seconds & covering ya mouths when you cough. I am officially taking a break from signing autographs until further notice.
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) February 29, 2020
Celtics guard Kemba Walker doesn’t think he’ll go that route, but he will be taking his own precautions when it comes to signing for fans.
“It’s getting serious, I’ll tell you that much,” Walker said Monday.
“Everyone just needs to be a little cautious about that virus. About everything,” Walker continued. “I’m pretty sure I’m still going to sign some autographs for folks. Maybe I should walk around with my own marker or something.”
Walker is expected to return to action Tuesday night when the Celtics host the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden, but Boston may be down two players due to an illness. Both Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart were sick and missed Monday’s practice, and their status is unknown for Tuesday’s game.