Raptors' Fred VanVleet on COVID-19 Symptoms: 'I Wouldn't Wish It on Anybody'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2021

Toronto Raptors' Fred VanVleet plays against the Boston Celtics during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said he dealt with a wide range of symptoms after testing positive for COVID-19 in late February.

VanVleet told reporters Tuesday he "felt the sickness—I could just feel it in me, I could feel it in my bones and my blood and my muscles."

"Back sore. Body aches. I just [felt] like I just played three nights in a row. Sore, headache, my eyes were hurting. I didn't have the shortness of breath or anything like that. I had a fever for a day and a half, two days. But definitely nothing like anything I've ever had.

"It was a whirlwind, definitely an experience that I won't forget. ... I wouldn't wish it on anybody. But I'm here, I'm alive, I'm breathing.

"And I know that there's a lot of people that didn't make it through COVID, so my thoughts and my heart is with the families and people that's been affected by this thing that weren't as fortunate as I was and as I am."

VanVleet was back at Raptors practice Tuesday after being sidelined since a Feb. 26 game against the Houston Rockets. Pascal Siakam, Malachi Flynn and Patrick McCaw also returned after just over two weeks away because of the NBA's healthy and safety protocols, per Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.

Toronto head coach Nick Nurse, who also missed time because of coronavirus protocols before returning last week, said it felt more like a normal practice Tuesday as more players returned.

"Actually almost had a whole roster out there tonight," Nurse said. "I was running some 5-on-0 and had to run three teams, believe it or not. Big jump forward."

The Raptors were 17-17 with five wins in their past seven games after a victory over the Rockets in VanVleet's most recent appearance. Their next two games were postponed and they've lost five straight contests, including three since the conclusion of the All-Star break.

At 17-22, Toronto sits 11th in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the Indiana Pacers (17-21) for the final berth in the playoff play-in tournament.

It finished second in the East last season with a 53-19 record and it would like to make a second-half surge at least into the conference's top six to avoid the play-in bracket.

The Raptors are playing their home games at Amalie Arena in Florida because of travel restrictions between the United States and Canada amid the pandemic.

They return to action Wednesday night when they visit Little Caesars Arena to take on the Detroit Pistons. VanVleet, Siakam, Flynn and McCaw are all listed as questionable.