INDIANAPOLIS — LaMarcus Aldridge pulled the curtain back on his bout with coronavirus. The Nets center said he not only dealt with symptoms while out with COVID-19, but is still suffering from the aftereffects.
“Yeah. Even though you’re through it, you don’t go back to feeling normal. It was my first time getting it, so I think it definitely hit me harder than most,” Aldridge said before Wednesday’s 129-121 win over Indiana. “So I’m still trying to get my legs back, get my wind back, and just feel normal again.”
Feeling normal is relative these days, especially considering Aldridge, who had 13 points and three rebounds in 16 minutes on Wednesday, also suffers from cardiac issues that admittedly put him even more at risk from COVID-19.
Aldridge has Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome, and underwent the insertion of a cardiac catheter in 2007 and ’11. He retired after feeling an irregular heartbeat in Brooklyn’s April 10 loss to the Lakers, but came back this season and entered Wednesday averaging 13.7 points and 5.9 boards.
The only hiccup was Aldridge getting COVID-19 and going into the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Dec. 14, symptomatic during his quarantine and unable to work out. He didn’t play again until Dec. 30, and still isn’t himself.
“I had all the symptoms, so I didn’t do anything. I was tired. I wasn’t feeling well, headaches, body aches, so I didn’t do anything. So I’m still trying to find myself right now,” said Aldridge, who passed all the needed cardiac tests to come back but has been set back by the illness and layoff.
“[The hardest part] was not working out, not getting in the gym, just not moving around. Even those two games I played, just don’t feel right. You don’t feel like you’re clear-headed, like your wind and your legs are still tired. So it’s a process coming back from that stuff.”
Steve Nash said he could use Aldridge in shorter stints, but it hasn’t been talked about.
“If he needs it, yeah. We’ve got to keep an eye on it,” Nash said. “That’s not something that he’s talked to us about or asked us, so we wait until he says ‘Hey I don’t feel it.’ Then we can adapt.”
DeAndre Bembry was out of the rotation to begin the game, but came off the bench with 12 points on 5 of 5 shooting, five boards two steals and finished a plus-24.
“He was almost flawless — energy, defensively he was great no matter who his matchup was. He had steals, he had blocks, he had deflections. Offensively he was near perfect,” Steve Nash said. “Study this line, he was perfect more or less. Great performance.
“Proud of him. He’s played well for us this year. He didn’t deserve to not be in the rotation. We just have to try different things with everybody back and when we called him he was ready and he came out and competed and was rewarded for it.”
Patty Mills is 10-for-32 in his last four games, and Nash admitted he’s been feeling the impact of averaging 30.6 minutes — five over his career-high. He could benefit from Kyrie Irving’s return.
“This is getting back to a more natural position for Patty. When Joe [Harris] was playing, Patty played in that 20-minute range, 20, 25 minutes more times than not,” Nash said. “So on the road this can maybe give him a little bit more rest allow him to save his legs a little bit.”
Nash had no timetable on Harris’ return from ankle surgery.