Reports have just confirmed that Orlando Magic head coach Steve Clifford has tested positive for COVID-19. This is truly a concerning development with major implications for the rest of the team.
This report comes via NBA insider Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Orlando Magic head coach Steve Clifford has tested positive for coronavirus, league sources tell me and @JoshuaBRobbins. Team is holding out hope that it’s a false positive. Clifford has had his first vaccine shot and is asymptomatic.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 24, 2021
The good news here is that Clifford is asymptomatic. As Described in Shams’ report above, the Magic are hoping that this is nothing more than a false positive test. Clifford has likely already undergone a second round of testing and the results of the same should come out very soon.
It was not too long ago that a similar incident happened involving Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle. The 61-year-old shot-caller tested positive right before the Mavs faced off against the New York Knicks. Unsurprisingly, Carlisle was not allowed to coach his team in the Madison Square Garden and was required to quarantine in his hotel room. Further tests revealed that it was indeed a false positive and Carlisle re-joined his team shortly after. Like Clifford, Carlisle had already received his first jab of the vaccine prior to his false-positive test result.
The Magic are in action on Sunday when they host the Indiana Pacers on their home floor. Unless Clifford’s succeeding test results come out negative, we fully expect him to miss that game as well as Orlando’s next games over the next couple of weeks. The implications of this development on the rest of the team also remain to be seen.
This is a developing story and we will be sure to pass along any new information as they come. Stay tuned.