Orlando Magic center Mo Bamba left the NBA bubble and will not return this season as the 22-year-old undergoes a “comprehensive post-coronavirus evaluation,” the team said Friday.
Bamba acknowledged last week that he tested positive for COVID-19 in June, telling The Athletic, “Everyone has something that they’re fighting through. A lot of players, a lot of people in this country have fought through COVID, and I’m no different than the others. But I feel like people need to know that this is a real thing and this is something that we need to take seriously.”
While the Magic, who next play top-seeded Milwaukee in a first-round series beginning Tuesday, did not reveal any more details in their news release, it’s clear that they’re concerned enough to keep him out of the playoffs.
Doctors have expressed worry about long-term health issues associated with COVID-19, particularly how the disease affects the heart.
Bamba split time with Khem Birch as Orlando’s No. 2 center behind Nikola Vucevic for most of the season, but Birch received more minutes in the restart. Bamba played in just 11 minutes in two games and did not play in the final six seeding games. He was listed out with a migraine for one game.
Magic coach Steve Clifford cited Bamba’s conditioning, and Bamba acknowledged he fell behind his teammates conditioning when they were able to attend individual workouts at the practice facility.
“It was a pretty big setback without any access to the facility when things were ramping back up and guys were getting back in and we were kind of starting to feel like the restart was real,” Bamba told The Athletic.