Orlando Magic head coach Steve Clifford tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.
The Orlando Magic are supposed to take the court on Sunday for their game against the Indiana Pacers. However, it is unknown if head coach Steve Clifford will be available.
According to Shams Charania and Joshua Robbins of The Athletic, Clifford has tested positive for the coronavirus. As Charania mentions in the tweet below, Clifford is asymptomatic and the team is hoping that Clifford’s test is a false positive.
Clifford said, via The Athletic, that he was “shocked” when getting back the test result and that he does not expect to coach in Sunday’s game. If that is the case, assistant coach Tyrone Corbin will fill-in as the interim coach. Clifford had just received the second-dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this past Thursday.
Magic: Head coach Steve Clifford tests positive for COVID-19
Shortly after The Athletic report, ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski had sources tell him that the results are inconclusive and Clifford can coach in Sunday night’s game if he tests negative twice before tip-off. Wojnarowski notes that Clifford will also have to receive clearance from the league in addition to the two negative tests.
Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel noted that the Magic’s scheduled practice for Saturday was canceled due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, stemming from Clifford’s positive test.
The Magic have 13 games remaining on their regular-season schedule and sit in 14th place in the Eastern Conference with an 18-41 record. They currently sit eight games behind the 10th-place Washington Wizards (26-33) for a play-in round berth and are in the midst of a four-game losing streak. However, they could play the role of spoiler against the Pacers (27-31) on Sunday, who sit in ninth-place and have a 2.5-game lead over the Chicago Bulls for 11th in the conference.
We will continue to keep you updated on Clifford’s status. We can expect to have a definite answer at some point on Sunday prior to tip-off.