The Raptors’ final coronavirus test also came back negative — everyone’s cleared


The final test for coronavirus among those in the Raptors’ travelling party came back negative, the team announced Saturday.

All 50-plus team members from the road trip have now been cleared. They underwent mandatory tests after Utah’s Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell – whose team had played the Raptors in Salt Lake City on Monday night — tested positive for the rampaging virus.

“Those who have been told to self-isolate will continue to do so. We will all continue to practice social distancing, diligent hand-washing, and we will carefully monitor our health,” the team said.

All but one test result came back Friday.

On Saturday, Gobert, the first NBA player to be named publicly as testing positive for the virus, pledged more than $500,000 (U.S.) for coronavirus aid and relief. The Jazz announced he would donate $200,000 to part-time workers at the team’s arena — who will be without employment for at least 30 days — along with $100,000 to relief programs in Utah and Oklahoma City (where his test was done) and 100,000 Euros to aid efforts in his native France.

Complicating factors for the Raptors were the sheer size of the group and the timing.

With a group of more than 50 — from coaches and players to support staff for the various broadcast outlets that have people with the team, on its charter and sharing its hotels — it was difficult to physically track everyone down. They arrived back home very early Tuesday after Monday’s game, and the need for immediate testing didn’t become apparent until much later on Wednesday afternoon. With no practice scheduled until Friday and no game until Saturday night — before the cancellation — they weren’t expected to be on call in the interim.

But while the test results were negative, it doesn’t mean life got back to anywhere near normal for members of the organization. Robbed of being able to do what they do — play games, practice, work out at team facilities and be part of a team — the players are making the best of an odd situation, as are so many millions of others.

Self-isolation means they have no contact with outsiders and cannot take part in anything close to their usual routine. Players who are used to at least being in the gym working out on their own, if not with teammates at scheduled practices or playing games, were finding ways to stay active — or at least engaged.

Serge Ibaka, one of the more active users of social media on the team, took time Saturday to post a video of how he’s dealing with two weeks of enforced absence from any official work.

“I hope everyone is staying safe, following the experts’ advice and keeping positive and calm,” he said on his Twitter feed.

He showed not only the makeshift workout area he’s set up in his home, but a number of boxes he had delivered — left outside his front door — that contained necessary supplies.

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“As you know I have to be home for 14 days, so for the next 14 days I can’t go out, and in the meantime I have to stay in shape so I made my little gym here at my place like you can see,” Ibaka said in a video he posted. “I can box here, the bike, the (resistance training) bands, the little weights here … that’s all I need, man.

“I’ll see you when I’m out.”