Leaner Jokic back for Nuggets

    Photo from nba.com

    NIKOLA Jokic, returning from a positive coronavirus test, completed his quarantine period Tuesday and watched his Denver Nuggets teammates practice at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando.

    Jokic tested positive for COVID-19 while in his native Serbia last month. He traveled to central Florida separately from his teammates, arriving Saturday, then was quarantined while waiting to pass two coronavirus tests in a 48-hour period.

    Speaking with reporters on a video conference call Tuesday night, Jokic said the positive test surprised him because he was asymptomatic.

    “It was kind of weird. I was feeling good and feeling normal,” he said.
    Nuggets coach Michael Malone said Tuesday, “Nikola is a big part of what we’re trying to do. Having him here finally is great. He and I have a tremendous relationship. It was wonderful to see him walk through those doors.”

    Jokic also addressed the hot topic of his physique. A widely circulated photo of him during the NBA’s hiatus showed him looking far leaner than his listed 284-pound playing weight.

    He said he had lost 20-25 pounds during the season before play halted, then lost an additional three to five pounds.

    “About the pictures, I see how people don’t see the (long-term) changes,” Jokic said. “I didn’t lose that much pounds in the quarantine and corona. …

    “I’m just happy to be here and finally come to Orlando to be with the team. Maybe I’ll surprise everybody. You will see.”

    Malone has maintained all along that the club’s All-Star center has stayed healthy despite the positive test.

    Malone said Saturday, “So much is being made of Nikola’s weight loss. I think there was a picture that spread like wildfire while he was home in Serbia. The funny thing for me is long before the league was suspended on March 11, Nikola had lost a ton of weight from the beginning of the season. … To his credit, he just continued to be disciplined and focused with his routine during the suspension and hiatus.