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Hoos in the NBA: After beating COVID-19, Brogdon returns to Pacers practice with mask
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Hoos in the NBA: After beating COVID-19, Brogdon returns to Pacers practice with mask

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Less than two weeks remain until the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season. When play resumes, a handful of former Virginia men’s basketball players will take center stage in Orlando.

Malcolm Brogdon headlines a talented group, with Joe Harris and Mike Scott also expected to receive significant minutes. A few other former Wahoos are in the bubble and may earn minutes, depending on injuries and positive COVID-19 tests.

Let’s check in on the latest headlines regarding the Wahoos in the NBA bubble.

Brogdon practices, wears maskIndiana Pacers point guard Malcolm Brogdon, a former UVa star, tested positive for COVID-19 a few weeks ago. He joined the team in Orlando recently, and he’s working out with his teammates in preparation for the return to action.

Brogdon, who averages 16.3 points and 7.1 assists per game, practiced in a mask Thursday as he returned to workouts.

“He is out there working hard, he’s playing with a mask on, and that’s pretty much Malcolm’s doing just to give the team confidence that he’s not out there spreading anything,” Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said in a video interview with reporters. “He’s not required to play with a mask, but he’s been working that way the last two days.”

The point guard expects to continue wearing the mask in practice until game action begins. Indiana’s first regular-season game back in action is set for Aug. 1, although the team has a few exhibitions in the coming days.

“I intend to do it until we start playing games,” Brogdon said. “It’s something I’ve been doing for my conditioning and just to be considerate of the guys. Just in case guys are worried about me previously contracting the virus.”

When it comes to Brogdon’s conditioning, there’s room for improvement. Not only has he been out of NBA action since the season was suspended in March, but Brogdon also battled injuries prior to the shutdown. He hasn’t suited up in a game since March 4.

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Add in a few weeks of self-isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test, and Brogdon’s conditioning falls short of his goals.

“My conditioning is not where I want it to be, of course, it’s not NBA shape, but it’s actually better than I thought,” Brogdon said. “I’ve heard a few people say that I’ve looked in more shape than they thought I would after two, three weeks sitting down, so I’m happy where I’m at.”

Of the 48 games Brogdon played this season, all 48 were starts. He averages 30.7 minutes per game. Brogdon plays frequently, and he’s an important part of Indiana’s roster. He’s hopeful he’ll return to game shape in the coming days.

“I’m not satisfied, and I’m pushing myself every day in practice, my teammates are pushing me,” Brogdon said. “I’ll definitely be in shape by the time games start.”

As for life in the NBA bubble, Brogdon says he can’t complain. While some players posted complaints regarding their rooms or the food online, Brogdon says he’s grateful to join the bubble.

People are struggling physically, mentally and financially due to the pandemic. Brogdon wants to keep the “struggles” of the bubble in perspective.

“There are people here working extremely hard to make this as comfortable for the NBA players as possible, so it’s not my job to complain or insult food or do anything like that,” Brogdon said. “The food has been good. The food has been enough. We just got to be grateful.”

Nets sign Anderson

Reports surfaced a few weeks ago that the Brooklyn Nets would sign Justin Anderson for the NBA restart. The team made the news official Saturday night.

Anderson previously appeared in three NBA games for the team this season and also played 16 games for the team’s G League affiliate, averaging 20.5 points per contest. He joins former UVa standout Joe Harris on the roster.

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