Lloyd Pierce isolating, Hawks employee tests positive for COVID

Coach Lloyd Pierce of the Atanta Hawks reacts following a call during the first quarter of their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center on Jan. 9, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/TNS)
Coach Lloyd Pierce of the Atanta Hawks reacts following a call during the first quarter of their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center on Jan. 9, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce is isolating in his hotel room in Phoenix because of potentially close contact with a member of the Hawks traveling staff who tested positive for COVID-19, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The person who tested positive is not a player.

Pierce tested negative as recently as this morning. All members of the traveling staff get tested daily. In addition, “several” more members of the Hawks staff are isolating.

Pierce is awaiting direction from the NBA’s medical staff and does not have a firm timeline of how long he must isolate at this point. As of early Wednesday evening, Pierce said the Hawks are still expecting to leave Thursday for Utah (they play the Jazz on Friday), and when asked if he would have to stay behind, Pierce said: “I think I’m fine. I’ll be fine. I tested negative. I’m absolutely fine, but I’ll adhere to whatever comes my way, whenever I find that information.”

The Hawks game in Phoenix was postponed because of contact tracing, as Phoenix recently played Washington, who has a few players in COVID-19 protocols. The Hawks did not have any contact with the Suns.

“It’s an unfortunate situation for the game, it’s an unfortunate situation across the league,” Pierce said of the postponement. “I think for us, more than anything, it’s just making sure the guys can get on the court and get some work in. This whole season, the court time is limited. So we can’t afford to lose court time just because a game has been postponed, because that just sets us back even further.”

In situations like this, the league’s medical staff uses interviews and Kinexon sensor technology to do contact tracing.

“Being comfortable in an uncomfortable setting was the goal from Day 1, I think that was my phrase I used,” Pierce said of how COVID-19 has changed the NBA season. “When we first started, we have to be comfortable in an uncomfortable year and setting. This is all a part of it. Nothing will be new to us, I don’t think. I think it may be an adjustment, but I think we’re expecting everything that is going to come our way and has come our way. We just have to find ways to be comfortable in an uncomfortable setting at all times.”

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