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Lillard & McCollum Discuss Realities of Playing in the COVID-19 Era

USA Today’s Mark Medina spoke with Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum about the rising COVID-19 cases in the NBA.

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NBA: Preseason-Sacramento Kings at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

In an article focused on what it is like to be a NBA player during the COVID-19 era, Mark Medina of USA Today talked to a trio of Portland Trail Blazers players. Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony discussed the harsh realities of playing this season.

McCollum, who serves on the executive committee of the NBPA, talked about what the league is attempting to do to make things safe as cases rise.

“They’re just going to tighten up some things in terms of testing for people in households and things of that nature,” said Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum, who serves on the executive committee with the NBPA. “Obviously the positive (tests) are rising and we’ve been (postponing) some games. We’re just figuring out ways to tighten things down, whether that’s shootaround or postgame interactions. They’re just trying to tighten things up and limit our risk with player-to-player contact.”

The restrictions and guidelines at times can feel constricting, even though the players and coaches know they’re important. Lillard said at times that he feels like’s “living my life in a box,” but it’s vital that they follow the rules.

“It’s definitely tough. But if we don’t accept that’s the way it has to be, we lose out on a lot of things — our health, our contracts,” Lillard said. “Everything goes downhill if we don’t play by these rules. Obviously we’re going to make it work to the best of our ability. We’ve been doing a really solid job of that.”

Several teams have already been impacted by positive COVID-19 tests, and Anthony noted that it adds more uncertainty to their schedule.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen. Our season is day-to-day,” Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony said. “It’s not like we can look forward to next week’s games or a certain road trip. We have to focus on the next day and getting through this day.”

To read more about what other players and coaches have to say, you can read the whole article at USA Today.