Milwaukee Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe, who has played an important role in helping the Bucks enter the upcoming NBA restart with a league-leading 53-12 record, has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the scheduled resumption of play on July 30.
The news of Bledsoe's diagnosis was first reported on Thursday night by Chris Haynes, who reported on TNT's Inside the NBA that the 30-year-old did not fly with the rest of his team to the league's Orlando, Florida, "bubble" site because he had come down with COVID-19. Haynes added that per his most recent conversation with Bledsoe, the guard "really feels good" and is not suffering from any symptoms. Bledsoe was also cited as saying that he hopes to join the Bucks "as soon as possible" once he has completed the league's protocols for players who have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
As explained by NBC Sports, it might take some time before Bledsoe can return to the Bucks and help them in their quest to win their first NBA championship since 1971. The player will need to quarantine for two weeks at home, receive two negative test results, then go through two more days of quarantine and pass two additional coronavirus tests once he arrives at Orlando for the season restart.According to the Bucks' Basketball-Reference team page, Bledsoe has started in all the 56 games he has played in the 2019-20 campaign, posting averages of 15.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.4 assists and shooting 48.2 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from beyond the arc.
While those statistics underscore Bledsoe's status as a secondary playmaker to team assists leader Giannis Antetokounmpo and a valuable floor-spacer on offense, NBC Sports stressed that his main contributions to the Bucks are on the other end of the floor. As pointed out by the outlet, he earned second-team All-Defensive honors last season and is expected to do the same this year.
As they have a 6.5-game lead over the second-place Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference, Bledsoe's expected absence during the eight seeding games might not be a big loss for Milwaukee, according to NBC Sports. The publication noted that the Bucks will likely treat the rest of the regular season as a "preseason" of sorts to help them get ready for the playoffs. However, it was also stated that the former University of Kentucky star might need to be in Orlando ahead of the postseason so he could have enough time to "find a rhythm" with his teammates.