The pandemic has created unease for a lot of people, not just athletes.
But what happened to University of Florida basketball standout Keyontae Johnson has to have folks in the sports community thinking.
The preseason Southeastern Conference player of the year remained in critical but stable condition Sunday morning at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, one day after collapsing during the Gators game against Florida State.
The Associated Press reported that Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 this summer. While the cause of Johnson’s ailment has not been reported, the coronavirus can lead to myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.
Before the incident, Johnson had just finished an alley-oop, celebrated with teammates and walked toward the sideline. As the team broke its huddle, he collapsed on the court and teammates screamed toward the sideline for help.
“Listen, we are playing in unchartered waters, we all know that,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said asked Sunday how scary it is to know Johnson collapsed a couple of months after testing positive.
“The actor Tiny [Tommy Lister] died the other day and he had COVID and didn’t make it to the hospital,” Rivers continued. “I am smart enough to know what I don’t know. I think just everybody, not just athletes, we all have to be safe. This thing is growing antennas and doing its own thing. We’ve just got to be as safe as we can.”
Sixers’ biggest need
The Sixers have solid defenders, and added much-needed shooting. However, on paper, this team does not have the established perimeter go-to player needed to be amongst the Eastern Conference’s elite teams.
That’s not to say that someone on this roster is unable to blossom into that role. Perhaps that why Rivers said, “I don’t know yet” when asked the one thing the team is missing to be in the upper echelon of the conference.
“Again, I haven’t been here long enough,” said Rivers, who accepted the job on Oct. 1. “I look at this team and look at the talent and I think we will be there. I can’t answer yet what we missed or what we have not done, but I think I will find that out pretty soon.”
Rivers said he’s looking forward to the journey with his team, and believes it’s going to be a great journey.