Someone send Nerlens Noel an alarm clock.
According to Joe Mussato of The Oklahoman, the Oklahoma City Thunder center was held out of Tuesday night’s exhibition game against the Portland Trail Blazers after he missed his daily coronavirus test. The game tipped off at 6 p.m. EST.
“Nerlens was extremely remorseful,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “If I’m being totally honest, there’s times I’ve been in my room and been like, ‘Oh my god, I forgot to take my test’ and I’d have to run down there and test. These days kind of run together.
“Sometimes it can slip your mind if your test isn’t right around practice, it could be a little later in the day, you could forget,” he said. “Everybody here has had to be personally reminded … We’ve talked about we’ve all got to be responsible to make sure we’re getting that done.”
Nerlens Noel will miss the Thunder's final scrimmage after forgetting to take his daily COVID-19 test. https://t.co/vOqLAVM5ga
— Joe Mussatto (@joe_mussatto) July 28, 2020
Noel isn’t the first player to miss a test. In fact, he’s the third NBA player already (joining Kristaps Porzingis of the Dallas Mavericks and Paul Millsap of the Denver Nuggets) who have forgotten to go get tested during the day and was subsequently forced to sit out that day’s game. Considering the strict guidelines the NBA has already put in place in regards to the Orlando “Bubble” restart, it makes sense that the league would force them to sit out and quarantine for 24 hours letting them play again.
But my question is how? How do these players forget to take the same test they take every single day? Set an alarm on your phone, watch, tablet, computer; do something. There is an entire coaching staff and a roster full of players that have to do the same thing across 22 other teams. Yes, mistakes happen, but within these circumstances, they can’t afford to happen.
Noel is still expected to be ready to go for the Thunder’s opening regular-season game on Aug. 1 against the Utah Jazz. He’s also been dealing with a tweaked ankle that caused him to sit out OKC’s first scrimmage, however, Noel returned to play 16 minutes in the team’s second exhibition outing on Sunday.
The NBA season officially restarts on July 30.