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Trail Blazers’ Nassir Little on coronavirus: ‘It was consistent, 24/7 … just miserable pain’

Trail Blazers forward Nassir Little

Orlando, FL - AUGUST 6: Nassir Little #9 of the Portland Trail Blazers arrives prior to a game against the Denver Nuggets on August 6, 2020 at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

As teams convened for the season, 48 NBA players tested positive for coronavirus between Nov. 24-30.

One of them: Trail Blazers forward Nassir Little.

Jason Quick of The Athletic:

What happened over the next 22 days was a personal hell that Little says he wouldn’t wish on anybody. He couldn’t eat. He couldn’t drink. He couldn’t watch television because of splitting headaches. From the Dec. 1 diagnosis until his first negative test on Dec. 22, he lost 20 pounds.

“I’m not trying to sound morbid or anything, but it was to the point where it was like, you just don’t want to feel anything,” Little said. “It was really that bad. You just wished it would stop. It was consistent, 24/7 … just miserable pain. My back was hurting so bad, my headaches were terrible, I couldn’t eat anything …”

He would awake mornings with soaked sheets from night sweats. He would try to nourish with smoothies but kept throwing them up. He lost his sense of taste and smell. And the headaches would never subside.


For young and in-shape NBA players, coronavirus diagnoses are often treated as a minor inconvenience. The common vision is an asymptomatic player quarantining just so he won’t spread it further.

But that isn’t always the case.

Little has yet to play this season. Hopefully, he regains his strength and athleticism soon. But this was a major setback just before the season. It could take Little a while to catch up.