Seth Curry was surprised. He wasn’t sick, and he had been socially distancing. Yet on Jan. 7, he was rushed from the 76ers bench and immediately into isolation after being notified that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
“I felt fine,” the 30-year-old shooting guard said Friday. “I really wasn’t really going anywhere and doing much outside of the team setting. So I was surprised that I actually tested positive.”
Curry was sidelined during that road game against the Brooklyn Nets because of a sore left ankle. Once the Sixers learned of his test results, he immediately went to an isolation room at the Barclays Center. Curry left the arena separate from his teammates.
To return to work, a player must isolate at least 10 days after the first positive test or onset of symptoms or test negative twice at least 24 hours apart via PCR testing, according to the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Wednesday’s 117-109 home victory over the Boston Celtics marked the 13th day since Curry’s positive result. He joined his teammates on the bench that game, but did not play because of what the Sixers called “post health and safety protocols reconditioning.” He’s cleared to play against the Celtics on Friday night.
“Once I went into isolation, I was isolated from my family for most of the time that I was away from the team,” said Curry, whose wife, Callie, is Doc Rivers’ daughter. The couple has a daughter.
He watched a lot of basketball and football games while isolated in this basement. As for team interaction, Curry was on all the group text chains. Other than that, he watched the games from afar. His conditioning consisted of light workouts on his own equipment.
“I would stay in somewhat decent shape,” he said, “but other than that, just waiting until I could get back out on the court and get back with the team.”
Because of contact tracing after Curry’s positive test, the Sixers (10-5) played their next game with just seven players. They followed that up with nine and 10 available players in their next two contests, respectively. They were 1-2 in those three contests and are 3-3 in the six games Curry has missed because of the protocols. The Sixers are 3-4 without him when you include the Jan. 7 setback.
“Being away from the team obviously, seeing them struggle to play with seven, eight guys at times, knowing that I can’t help them, that was tough,” Curry said. “Being in isolation was tough. Not being able to work out and stay in shape.
“We were like two, three weeks into the season or however long and starting to finally get in shape and work my way into game rhythm and used to playing again and then get knocked right back out. So just a tough situation, but ready to get back out there.”
The seventh-year veteran is averaging a career-best 17 points and shooting 59.5% on three-pointers. Curry scored a season-high 28 points and hit 6 of 7 threes against the Washington Wizards on Jan. 6, the last game he played.
“I’m feeling good, just a little fatigued at times still,” he said. “But feeling good, ready to get back on the court, trying to get my conditioning back, my rhythm back, and that’s pretty much it.”