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Celtics GM Danny Ainge still working at team facility: 'I don't feel really scared' of coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered nearly every facet of life in the sports world in recent weeks, and has essentially brought it to a screeching halt.

While millions of Americans have been ordered or advised to stay home to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, and the NBA having suspended operations, Boston Celtics president of basketball operations is still working away out of the team facilities.

“I’ve been going into the office,” Ainge said Thursday, via the Boston Herald. “I’ve been the only one that’s at the facility, and mostly just watching film and walking inclines on the treadmill and walking the back stairway and doing some exercise. And then I come home and I have my two boys and their wives here with [my wife] Michelle and I, which makes it fun.”

There have been several confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the league, starting with Utah Jazz veteran Rudy Gobert, whose positive test prompted the NBA to suspend operations. Four Brooklyn Nets players, including Kevin Durant, tested positive, as did Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, two Los Angeles Lakers players, one Denver Nuggets staff members and three Philadelphia 76ers staff members, among others. 

[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]

Celtics guard Marcus Smart contracted the virus, too, and even went on CNN to encourage people to take it seriously and stay home to help curb the spread of the virus. Countless others in the sports world have made similar pleads to fans in recent days.

There were at least 83,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Thursday night, according to The New York Times, and nearly 2,500 in Massachusetts alone — the eighth-highest in the country. They are under a stay-at-home advisory.

Danny Ainge: ‘I feel great’

While Ainge does have a history of medical issues — the 61-year-old suffered a heart attack in 2009 and another one during the playoffs last season — he said he still feels great. 

“I feel fine,” Ainge said, via the Boston Herald. “There’s been no symptoms at all, so that’s good. And I haven’t had contact with anybody from our team since like, March 1st or 2nd.”

Sure, Ainge is technically practicing social distancing if he is truly the only one at the team’s facilities. The move, though, could still be considered risky. Since the NBA ordered all team facilities closed last week, banning all players and staff from them, there’s no guarantee when it was last cleaned or sanitized. 

Regardless, Ainge isn’t frightened by the virus like many in the United States. He’s more scared of what it’s doing to people’s lives.

“I know that it feels really scary, and I know that it is scary for some, but I don’t feel really scared,” Ainge said, via the Boston Herald. “I feel more concerned, I guess, with all of the people whose livelihoods are being taken away from them, and I think that that is scary.

“Because we’re quarantined and we’re not out in the world right now, I can just imagine all the millions of people that have lost their jobs. And I think of just all the people that the NBA’s associated with, just from television to the airlines to restaurants and the stadium — there’s just so many people that are attached to just our industry, and there are so many huge industries bigger than the NBA. That worries me as much as all of our people that are getting sick, because it seems like most people are recovering.”

Danny Ainge said he is the only one still working out of the Celtics’ facility, despite the NBA banning all staff and players from them last week. (Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)

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