Quarantine forced Mikal Bridges to take his longest break from basketball
Mikal Bridges is not the type to take much time away from playing basketball.
When the Phoenix Suns wing was asked at the beginning of last offseason if he had any big plans for trips, he said maybe one and a couple of weekends away to go back home on the east coast. But for anything beyond that, he laid it out that if his family and friends want to see him, they probably just need to come to Phoenix because preparing for the next season is already his priority.
So, as you can imagine, his quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic was the longest amount of time he’s spent not around the sport.
“Never really for a month, that’s just so long,” he said on a video conference call Thursday.
Bridges said that like everyone else around the world, he changed and adapted to that lifestyle before getting back to working out.
“In the beginning, it was tough because, ‘How am I going to work out? Am I working out just to kind of still be in shape a little bit or I’m seriously working out because the season is coming back?'” he said. “It was just really tough.”
Despite that, you won’t be surprised that Bridges said he never got himself to be too “low” on a scale of staying in shape and now it’s about ramping things up with basketball activities at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum for voluntary workouts.
Outside of having practices, shootarounds and being around the team, it’s the same day-to-day routine for Bridges.
As to what he’s doing that routine for, well, he doesn’t know, like most of us.
Also like us, though, the players are seeing all the latest developments and aware of some potential contingencies.
Bridges said that Frank Kaminsky, the Suns’ player rep for the NBPA, has been keeping the team up to date on the latest calls with the league, and Bridges unprompted brought up the 70-game mark for regional TV contracts to kick in.
“At this point, I don’t really care what it is, as long as we can play again,” Bridges said of all the possibilities, noting it has been “confusing” to try and follow the latest.
He credited the league for the work they are doing, noting that if there was a way to safely return right now, they’d be doing it.
As far as how the Suns fit in, being six games out of a playoff spot, 13th in the Western Conference and 21st in the NBA standings, Bridges still thinks that whatever games the Suns can get are worth it, even if they aren’t under a play-in format for a potential playoff berth.
That’s opposed to what Portland Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard said Tuesday that he won’t play if there isn’t a chance for the postseason.
“I understand what he’s saying but it’s just a little bit different for us,” Bridges said. “Being a younger team, new coach, new staff — being together just helps. Even if we didn’t play.”