10:58 AM ET
Brian WindhorstESPN Senior Writer
- ESPN.com NBA writer since 2010
- Covered Cleveland Cavs for seven years
- Author of two books
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. is one of the NBA players with a preexisting condition that could make him more vulnerable to COVID-19. He’s hoping people like him will be considered if the league attempts a restart in the near future.
Nance has Crohn’s disease and uses a therapy that has enabled him to have a successful basketball career but also suppresses his immune system.
“I would hope there would be an understanding [from the league] if someone didn’t feel comfortable coming back that’d you get a pass,” Nance said. “Just because you may look like the picture of health, some people have issues you can’t see.”
Two months ago, when the NBA shut down following Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert‘s positive test, Nance described himself as “absolutely terrified” because he’d recently played against Gobert. He’d already been consulting physicians and had considered staying home from a West Coast trip the Cavs were scheduled to leave on just as the league was suspended.
“We’re young and you know the kind of shape players are in, you’d like to think [the virus] wouldn’t be what it could be for others. But you don’t know,” Nance said. “I’m still scared and don’t want to get it.”
Nance’s fears have been calmed in recent weeks as he has learned more about the virus and consulted various gastrointestinal specialists. The drug he’s been on for the past 10 years via periodic IV infusions has shown to be helpful in fighting off the infection for some with his condition.
He’s one of about seven Cavs players who have returned to the team’s facility to do individual workouts over the past two weeks. Nance is hoping the situation will allow him to return to play if the NBA is able to restart the season.
“I’m paying super close attention to everything that is going on,” he said. “I was watching the German soccer league over the weekend and seeing how the players were interacting with each other and still seeing them make a lot of contact. I can’t even imagine being on one of those calls trying to hash this out. There’s so many ways to spread this.”