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COVID-19

Sports >  WSU basketball

Former Washington State center Aron Baynes recovering from COVID-19

UPDATED: Wed., July 22, 2020

Phoenix Suns center Aron Baynes, center, drives to the basket between Portland Trail Blazers guards Damian Lillard, left, and Anfernee Simons, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, March 10, 2020. The Blazers won 121-105. (Associated Press)
Phoenix Suns center Aron Baynes, center, drives to the basket between Portland Trail Blazers guards Damian Lillard, left, and Anfernee Simons, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, March 10, 2020. The Blazers won 121-105. (Associated Press)

Aron Baynes, the former Washington State big man and eighth-year NBA player, revealed Wednesday why he’s stayed home in Arizona while his Phoenix Suns prepare to restart play in the Orlando, Florida, bubble.

During an interview with Stadium.com’s Shams Charania, Baynes said he tested positive for the novel coronavirus and has been isolated ever since, also reporting the disease had spread to multiple members of his family.

It’s unclear when Baynes tested positive, or how, but the Australian center told Charania it happened “awhile back now” and said he hasn’t “touched a basketball for over 30 days.”

According to the video interview posted on Charania’s Twitter account, Baynes is no longer feeling symptomatic but is still carrying the virus and hasn’t recorded a negative test since he was initially diagnosed. Each of Baynes’ family members are now negative for the disease.

Once Baynes tested positive, he isolated in a separate room from family members and had his wife deliver meals to his door, according to the interview.

“That was the scariest moment for me because I also was putting my family at risk at that point and they were exposed to it at a later point,” Baynes said. “So they didn’t all get it at the same time as me, but they were also positive at a later point. … The biggest positive to come out of it was I was the worst-affected, so they all had very minimal symptoms where it actually put me on my butt for a good week. I slept for four days straight.”

Because of NBA protocol, Baynes won’t be able to join the Suns in Orlando until he registers two negative tests, even though he has antibodies and can no longer pass the disease on to others.

Baynes told Charania he was able to get his first “high-level intensity” workout in on Wednesday and performed sprints up and down the driveway in front of his house with his children watching from the window.

The Suns, who carry a 26-39 record into the bubble, have the second-worse record of any NBA team invited to compete in Orlando. If Baynes is able to record multiple negative tests in the next week, he’d still be able to join Phoenix before the team’s first official game against Washington on July 31.

The 33-year-old Baynes is in the midst of the best individual stretch of his career and is averaging double figures for the first time since his senior season at Washington State. He’s currently scoring 11.5 points per game and averaging 5.6 rebounds per game – the second-highest average of his career – while playing a career-high 22 minutes per game.

When he left Pullman, Baynes was top-10 all-time in career field goal percentage (.546) and career blocks (93), and was named All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention in 2008. Baynes is still connected to the WSU program and spoke to Kyle Smith’s Cougars the day before they played Arizona State in Tempe last season.

With Klay Thompson’s Golden State Warriors eliminated, Baynes would be the only ex-WSU player competing in the NBA bubble.

Before closing the interview with Charania, Baynes left viewers one final piece of advice to mitigate the spread of COVID-19: “Mask up, please.”

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