Heat’s Bradley on COVID-19 diagnosis: ‘I was really nervous’

Sports
Troy Brown Jr., Avery Bradley

Washington Wizards forward Troy Brown Jr., left, loses control of the ball as Miami Heat guard Avery Bradley (11) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI (AP) — Miami guard Avery Bradley went nearly two weeks without seeing his wife and children after testing positive for COVID-19, a brutally hard part of his ordeal with the illness.

The sacrifice was worthwhile, though: None of them got the virus.

Bradley confirmed Tuesday that he tested positive for the coronavirus last month. For anyone, that diagnosis can be daunting. For Bradley, that was especially so, given that he opted to not join his then-team, the Los Angeles Lakers, in the NBA’s restart bubble at Walt Disney World last season out of concerns about COVID-19 and the possibility of exposing his young son — who has chronic respiratory issues — to the disease.

“I was really nervous,” Bradley said. “It’s just a blessing that no one in my household got COVID. It made me feel a lot more at ease. It was just frustrating knowing that the virus is still around. It’s been tough. It’s been tough for me and my family, but we’re getting through it. I’m happy my kids didn’t have it, my wife didn’t have it, that made me feel a lot better.

“But it was tough not being around my family for 11 days, I think it was, not being able to see them, hug my kids, hug my wife. And I’m happy that it’s all over.”

Bradley catching the virus was part of a challenging time for the Heat. They had only eight players available for two games at Philadelphia on Jan. 12 and 14, both of them losses, while eight others — Bradley among them — were out for virus-related reasons and Meyers Leonard was out with what became a season-ending shoulder injury.

“No one is going to feel sorry for us,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Bradley has appeared in only 10 games for Miami this season; Tuesday’s game against New York is the 14th he is to miss, and that number will keep rising over the next few weeks. Bradley could be out until the end of the first-half schedule in early March with a strained calf muscle, though he’s hoping to return before the midseason break.

He missed eight games because of COVID-19, then returned, bruised his knee in his comeback, sat out the next two contests, played two more games and then hurt the calf.

“It’s really frustrating,” Bradley said. “It’s unfortunate, catching COVID, having the knee contusion and now this. It’s very frustrating. All I can do is continue to stay professional and make sure I’m doing everything I can do to get back as soon as possible, make sure I’m able to contribute and help our team in every way I can.”

Bradley is averaging 8.5 points this season. The Heat start a seven-game road trip in Houston on Thursday; Bradley isn’t expected to travel because of his injury.

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