The Raptors’ Fred VanVleet returned to practice Tuesday after battling COVID-19, giving eleventh-place Toronto a much-needed boost.
VanVleet, along with several other teammates, cleared NBA health and safety protocols.
The 27-year-old guard had been out for two and a half weeks after testing positive.
In a Zoom chat, he said the symptoms were “pretty rough.”
“I wouldn’t wish it on anybody,” VanVleet said. “Back sore. Body aches. I just (felt) like I just played three nights in a row. Sore, headache, my eyes were hurting. I didn’t have the shortness of breath or anything like that. I had a fever for a day and a half, two days. But definitely nothing like anything I’ve ever had. I could feel that it was something different. I just felt the sickness. I could just feel it in me. I could feel it in my bones and my blood and my muscles.”
Despite the intensity of the illness, VanVleet said his symptoms were only really bad for two days.
“I wouldn’t wish it on anybody,” said VanVleet. “But I’m here, I’m alive, I’m breathing, and I know there’s a lot of people that didn’t make it through COVID. So, my thoughts and my heart are with the families and people that’ve been affected by this thing that weren’t as fortunate as I was, as I am.”
VanVleet last played February 26, the day after his 27th birthday, against the Houston Rockets and is eager to get back on the court.
“I really love the game. I really love basketball. I love being in the gym,” said VanVleet. “I don’t always love everything that comes with it, but I really love the game. It’s just a blessing to be able to be back.”
Joining VanVleet back on the court after being out for COVID-related reasons were Pascal Siakam, Malachi Flynn, and Patrick McCaw.
The Raptors take on the Detroit Pistons tonight and have not announced when VanVleet will be cleared to play.