Charlotte Hornets postpone 2 games, won’t hold full practice until at least Friday due to COVID-19 protocols

By Richard Walker

After the NBA announced the Charlotte Hornets would be postponing home games scheduled for Wednesday and Friday in accordance with the NBA’s health and safety protocols, coach James Borrego said Tuesday he is confident his team will get through this schedule disruption as a stronger, more resilient group.

“If everything goes as we hope, we’ll be back on the practice court on Friday,” Borrego said in a zoom news conference a few hours after his team’s schedule was altered. “It’s a wait and see process. We trust the NBA and we’re going to follow the process.”

The shutdown comes after four positive COVID-19 test results with the San Antonio Spurs were announced on Monday. The Spurs beat the Hornets in Charlotte 122-110 on Sunday, which meant subsuquent contact tracing within the Hornets led to the following:

… Cancellation of Tuesday’s scheduled team practice session after a predetermined team off day on Monday.
… Only one player was allowed on the court at a time for individual shooting workouts on Wednesday (one basket, one player and one coach) with player and coach masked and following social distancing protocols.
… Players do not have access to the locker room areas.
… Workouts will continue in this manner until at least Thursday.

“There’s no indication anybody here has the virus,” Borrego said.

In a season of many NBA schedule alterations due to the league’s health and safety protocols, it’s the second time the Hornets have been affected.

Charlotte’s Jan. 20 home game against Washington was postponed due to COVID-19 issues with the Wizards and was later rescheduled and played on Feb. 7.

“Look, we’ve been here before,” said Borrego, whose 13-15 team enters Tuesday night in the seventh place in the Eastern Conference. “We’ve just got to adjust and adapt and find ways to communicate away from each other.”

Borrego said it’s the same attitude he followed much of the offseason – or after the NBA shut down operations on March 12, 2020 and the Hornets weren’t one of the teams invited to participate in the league’s postseason competition in Orlando late last summer.

“I want this to be a reset for our minds and a reset for our bodies,” Borrego said.

Charlotte’s Sunday game was the team’s 14th in 24 days dating to Jan. 22.

The pause also comes when the Hornets were down to eight healthy players due to injuries to starters Gordon Hayward (low back discomfort) and Devonte’ Graham (left knee patella femoral discomfort) for all but 48 seconds of the second half of Sunday’s loss.

Borrego said both players were receiving treatment for their injuries but there was no update on when they would be able to return to play.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty,” Borrego said. “But we’ll get through it. Let’s keep this in perspective: We’ve got a world that’s dealing with this.
“We’re all fortunate to be doing what we do. This will make us a tougher, more resilient group.”

Should Charlotte get the go-ahead from the NBA to resume full practice drills on Friday, they’ll host Golden State on Saturday at 8 p.m. before closing the first half of their season with a six-game road trip at Utah (Feb. 22), Phoenix (Feb. 24), Golden State (Feb. 26), Sacramento (Feb. 28), Portland (March 1) and Minnesota (March 3) before the All-Star break.

The NBA hasn’t yet released its second half schedule that could start as soon as March 11.