Celtics

Celtics

The NBA is implementing rigorous safety protocols in Orlando to try to limit the spread of COVID-19 when the 2019-20 season resumes later this month.

But those protocols will only work if everyone follows the rules, and there's some skepticism about getting more than 250 NBA players to fall in line.

Enter Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who used a video conference with reporters Tuesday to urge the league's younger players to take the coronavirus seriously even if they don't experience any symptoms.

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"It’s really concerning because unfortunately, those (asymptomatic cases) are the ones that (are) the problem," Smart said. "Because you go out there and you’re asymptomatic, you don’t know it and you go to your Grandma or you have a kid and go home to your kid, your wife, she’s pregnant, you never know.

"You don’t know because you don’t feel anything, so you’re like, 'I don’t need to get tested. I feel fine.' Then you’re spreading it and now it’s everywhere and it’s out of control even more than what it is."

Smart understands why players may view the virus as less of a threat if they're not directly impacted by it. But the 26-year-old contracted COVID-19 in March and knows the virus affects everyone differently. That's why he'll be taking necessary precautions such as hand-washing, staying inside and physical distancing -- and wants others to do the same.

 

"Us older guys, and especially guys who have had COVID, like me, really express and really chewing down on the fact to take it as serious as possible," Smart said. 

"I think the younger guys are going to have some skepticism but I think as veteran guys and other guys on the team, we’ll have to do our part to keep those guys, I guess, in a sense, under control and just understanding that although you might not take it as serious, you're putting other people at risk and they take it seriously, so you have to respect them."

Smart and his Celtics teammates are set to travel Wednesday to Orlando, where they'll practice for three weeks before restarting their 2019-20 season July 31 against the Milwaukee Bucks.