Miami Heat All-Star big man Bam Adebayo and guard Kendrick Nunn went through their first practice in the NBA bubble on Friday night after both tested positive for COVID-19 and recently finished quarantine.
"It felt great just being back in the groove," Adebayo said during a post-practice video call. "Getting used to it and being back around your brothers."
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Saturday that Nunn will play in Saturday's scrimmage against the Utah Jazz, while Adebayo will probably sit out. Both players expressed optimism Friday that they would be ready when seeding games begin next week.
"They wanted to be out there," Spoelstra said after Friday's practice. "They feel like they've been out long enough. So they basically ignored me and jumped on the court whenever they could. But it was great to have everybody out there -- and practice, you can imagine the level of spirit that the guys brought. After 10 practices, this being our 11th, it was just a perfect time for that kind of infusion of energy and spirit from those two guys."
Adebayo earned his first All-Star berth earlier this season and has drawn consideration for the Most Improved Player Award, while Nunn has taken advantage of his opportunity in Miami and become a trusted piece of Spoelstra's rotation. Nunn said he and Adebayo leaned on each other while trying to get back to full strength.
"Me and Bam, we kept in contact often because we were basically on the same routine, just trying to get over COVID and have negative tests," Nunn said, while acknowledging that his symptoms included feeling like he had a common cold. "So we were kind of talking to each other, helping each other through the process, telling each other to stay positive, and it worked out for us."
Adebayo described his experience with the virus as "boring," noting he was mostly asymptomatic.
"I was pretty much fine the whole time," Adebayo said. "It's a crazy thing because somebody could be asymptomatic and then the next person -- you don't know what it could do to their body." Both players felt as though they could play Saturday, but both were just happy to be back on the floor and playing again with their teammates.
"Me personally, I would say I'm ready, but that's 'cause I'm a freak of nature and I just want to play," Adebayo said. "That's the bottom line. I got to take it one day at a time, so I don't think I'm going to play tomorrow. And just so I can get my legs under me. I haven't really been moving around besides just being in the house, so trying to get my body acclimated and just get back in a groove."
The Heat head into next week's seeding games in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a 41-24 record.