After a two-week battle with COVID-19, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo returned to practice on Monday – barely two days before the Spartans ’Wednesday season opener.
The coronavirus was diagnosed on a bulb on Nov. 9 and isolated at home while struggling with mild symptoms.
“While some people who tested positive weren’t affected too much, I’m here to tell you that this virus isn’t a joke, and everyone should take this seriously,” Izzo said in a statement.
“I had a hard time staying away from the team and our players, but I understood the challenges of the virus and the need to isolate and follow the right protocol to make sure I’m healthy enough for the job.”
Izzo has been in the state of Michigan since 1995 and set a record of 628-241 during his 25 seasons in Sparta. With the exception of two seasons, he led them to the NCAA tournament (except last year, when the championship was completely canceled), made it to the Final Four eight times and won a national title in 2000.
The 65-year-old trained a little at home while isolated, thanks to the cameras they set up, and even called the players to talk to them during training.
“I was in touch with my players as much as I could, but I look forward to meeting them in person today,” Izzo said. “I was very impressed with the hard work they did during that time. We are all looking forward to the start of the season.”
Izzo is the latest college coach to fight COVID-19
Izzo is one of the prominent college coaches who infected the coronavirus before the season.
Baylor coach Scott Drew, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis and Tennessee coach Rick Barnes have all announced positive results in recent days.
Several programs – including Duke, Arizona, Baylor and many more – canceled their season openers due to outbursts, UConn’s women’s program on Monday suspended all activities, and Florida’s A&M women’s basketball decided not to hold a season at all.
The onslaught of cancellations, delays and more is not good for the season – which is scheduled to start on Wednesday after it has been delayed since 10 November.
According to The New York Times, there were more than 12.4 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States on Monday night, and more than 257,000 deaths have been attributed to it. The country set new case records several times last week, registering an average of more than 171,000 new cases per day. Due to the huge peak in cases, the Centers for Disease Control also advised people not to travel through Thanksgiving.
While much can happen between now and the NCAA Championships, college basketball is clearly fighting to curb the coronavirus – and the 2020-21 season hasn’t even begun.
For more information from Yahoo Sports: