Nikola Jokic, Charlie Blackmon test positive for coronavirus
Two of Colorado's star athletes, expected to return to play next month, test positive for COVID-19
All-Star outfielder Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies has become the first Major League Baseball player known to have tested positive for the coronavirus.
A person familiar with Blackmon’s situation confirmed the test result to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement.
The Denver Post first reported Blackmon’s condition, saying Tuesday that three Rockies players had tested positive.
Blackmon is a four-time All-Star slugger who hit .314 with 32 home runs and 86 RBIs last season. He turns 34 on July 1, the day players are set to begin reporting for the resumption of spring training.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred imposed a 60-game season Tuesday night after failed financial negotiations between owners and players. The season that’s been delayed by the pandemic will begin either July 23 or 24.
The Philadelphia Phillies have said seven players have tested positive for the virus without identifying any of them. Several other teams have said they also have players who have tested positive.
The Post reported Blackmon tested positive last week after workouts at Coors Field in Denver. The newspaper said the Rockies then closed the ballpark, following MLB protocol.
Many players around the majors have been working in recent weeks at either their home ballparks or their team’s complexes in Florida or Arizona. MLB closed all spring camp sites last Friday because of virus concerns.
Blackmon has been an All-Star the last three seasons. He is a career .304 hitter in nine years.
All-Star forward Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets has also tested positive for the coronavirus and is quarantining in his native Serbia, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Jokic is expected to return to Denver long before the team leaves for the Disney complex for the restart of the NBA season next month, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because neither the player nor the team acknowledged the positive test publicly.
ESPN and The Denver Post previously reported Jokic’s positive test, which came on the same day that another top Serbian athlete — Novak Djokovic, the world’s top-ranked men’s tennis player — revealed that he and his wife had tested positive for the virus.
Djokovic and Jokic were together at an event earlier this month, though it cannot be concluded it played in a role in the positive test of either athlete.
Jokic is averaging 20.2 points and 10.2 rebounds this season for Denver. Only four other players — Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Atlanta’s John Collins and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo — are averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds this season.
When the season resumes July 30 at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, the Nuggets will start with a 43-22 record, placing them 1 1/2 games behind the second-place Los Angeles Clippers and 1 1/2 games ahead of fourth-place Utah in the Western Conference playoff race.
Photos of Jokic during the NBA’s shutdown clearly suggest that he’s slimmed down during his time off, and Nuggets President Tim Connelly raved about the new physique earlier this month to Altitude Sports Radio.
“He’s got abs,” Connelly said in that interview. “I’ve never seen him have abs before.”
Last week, Nuggets coach Michael Malone revealed he tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies and added that he believes he had the virus in March.