Why Michigan basketball determined to play Purdue regardless of Stefanovic’s constructive COVID-19 check

At first, Michigan basketball was nervous to play at Purdue on Friday evening.

Not as a result of it was a vital highway recreation towards a crew that had gained 4 consecutive video games and had but to lose at Mackey Enviornment this season.

No, the Wolverines have been nervous due to the present actuality of school basketball.

The Boilermakers introduced Friday afternoon that guard Sasha Stefanovic had tested positive for COVID-19 and would miss the following three contests, together with Friday’s recreation.

Michigan had realized of the information the day earlier than, though it did not know who had examined constructive. And at that juncture, the Wolverines had some hesitancy about continuing as scheduled.

“Positively,” stated ahead Isaiah Livers. “At first it was lots of us. I’ll discuss me to begin with, I used to be against it.”

Michigan’s Isaiah Livers makes a layup throughout the first half towards Purdue at Mackey Enviornment in West Lafayette, Ind., Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.

So why did Michigan get on the bus, journey to West Lafayette and play Friday’s recreation (a 70-53 win for the Wolverines)?

“As soon as I discovered they have been all gonna get PCRs after and it was just one man, he’s been quarantined, and he had been away, it was like OK, we will work with this,” Livers stated.

“On the finish of the day, we simply needed to belief them. We’re in a day of age the place we simply gotta belief coaches. Matt Painter’s an incredible man, he recruited me, coach Howard even recommended him, he was simply tremendous useful within the scenario, wasn’t making an attempt to carry again something and attempt to get somebody to forfeit or something. They only needed to play basketball, identical to I needed to.”

Based on Painter after the sport, Stefanovic “began to really feel dangerous Wednesday morning” and took two checks that each got here again destructive. However the Boilermakers acknowledged Stefanovic was experiencing “lots of signs” and “knew there was a great probability he was going to be constructive,” Painter stated. They requested Stefanovic to return to his residence and keep inside his room the complete day.

“Then the following day he had a constructive check for an antigen, then he had a constructive on the PCR,” Painter defined. “So we needed to anticipate that second check. So that may’ve been on Thursday. In order that’s once we knew for certain after which we have been simply figuring out the small print and clearly we launched it tonight earlier than the sport.”

Based on Painter, Stefanovic “didn’t observe in any respect.”

Extra: Michigan basketball’s defensive turnaround on display in win over Purdue

Extra: Michigan basketball continues to roll through Big Ten, derailing Purdue, 70-53

“We practiced twice understanding we wouldn’t in all probability have him,” Painter stated. “We didn’t know for certain however he had too many signs. We knew it was coming by means of.”

Because the scenario progressed, Painter contacted each Michigan and Ohio State, which hosted the Boilermakers on Tuesday evening (Stefanovic performed 28 minutes within the upset win over the Buckeyes). He was in shut communication with Howard, and when the Boilermakers found that Stefanovic did, certainly, have the coronavirus, Michigan requested that Purdue’s whole crew take PCR checks, that are thought to be extra correct than fast checks (often known as antigen checks).

“Michigan needed our entire crew to take a PCR then, too, simply to ensure every thing is sweet,” Painter stated, “which we honored and I believe that was a great transfer additionally. Then clearly we have been all destructive on that PCR.”

At that time, Howard left it as much as Michigan’s gamers and employees members. He stated he spoke to each member of this system to make sure that “everybody felt comfy, not simply me.”

“All of them have a voice on the subject of a critical scenario like this,” Howard stated. “All of them felt comfy with coming right here and taking part in.”

Because it seems, Purdue’s communication gained over gamers like Livers, who stated the Boilermakers have been “clear.”

“We weren’t gonna come bus down right here, and even come down right here in the event that they weren’t being completely sincere and straight up with us,” Livers stated. “And I believe that’s what actually led to us making the last word resolution after observe was, ‘, they’re telling the reality, they’re getting their guys PCR checks, they’re all getting examined after observe, why not, let’s go play a recreation, they’re gonna miss a man’. However Matt Painter, they stated they have been able to go, so we have been able to go.”

Added guard Eli Brooks: “Yeah, I thought of it. Largely I simply wish to be there for everyone on the crew and respect their resolution of how they have been feeling in regards to the scenario. However for me, they have been clear, every thing that we didn’t know we knew, and that allowed me to make my resolution and everyone else to make their resolution. That’s all you possibly can ask as a result of we’re taking part in in a time that’s unsure, that persons are telling the reality. That’s one of the best ways to do it. That goes a great distance.”

Contact Orion Sang at Observe him on Twitter @orion_sang. Learn extra on the Michigan Wolverines and join our Wolverines newsletter. The Free Press has began a new digital subscription model. Here is how one can gain access to our most exclusive Michigan Wolverines content.

This text initially appeared on Detroit Free Press: Why Michigan basketball played Purdue despite positive COVID-19 test

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