Magic's Steve Clifford Cleared from COVID-19 Protocols, Will Coach vs. Celtics

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIMay 3, 2021

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - APRIL 01: Head coach Steve Clifford of the Orlando Magic reacts to a call during the second quarter an NBA game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center on April 01, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
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Orlando Magic head coach Steve Clifford is no longer in the league's health and safety protocols and will return Wednesday, the team announced (h/t ESPN).  

Clifford, who returned two positive tests for COVID-19 at the end of April, has been absent for five games and will miss Monday's meeting with the Detroit Pistons since he did not travel with the team. 

Assistant coach Tyrone Corbin has stepped up in his absence. The Magic went 3-2 without Clifford, though they are eliminated from the postseason at 20-44 with eight games to play.

Clifford, 59, has received both doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine but is not yet considered fully vaccinated because it has not been two weeks since he received the second dose. His second shot came on April 22, the day of his first positive test, according to ESPN.

After testing negative twice on April 23, he tested positive again on April 24. 

He told reporters that he felt fine amid the diagnosis.

“I feel comfortable that I’m not really in danger,” Clifford said. “That with the fact that my temperature, my oxidation numbers, how I feel, I have no side effects right now, I’m very comfortable with that.”

Clifford has previously been sidelined with health issues. In 2017-18, sleep deprivation forced him to miss 21 games with the Charlotte Hornets, and he left a March 2020 game because of dehydration-induced dizziness, per ESPN.