Mike Conley leaves NBA bubble day before first-round playoff series begins

Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley has left the NBA bubble a day before Game 1 of the team’s first-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets.

Conley returned to Columbus, Ohio, for the birth of his child, the team announced.

Later Sunday, Conley announced the birth of his son, named Elijah Michael Conley. That name came despite Conley’s oldest son suggestion of “Lightning Thunder Michael Alex Conley.”

Conley will have to quarantine upon arrival back in the bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Game 2 of the series is Wednesday afternoon.

Mike Conley always planned to leave bubble for birth

Conley is among a handful of athletes welcoming new additions to the family this summer. Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward and his wife are expecting their fourth child next month.

They were all faced with tough decisions about playing their sports, and Conley said as much back in the first days of July. He told the Salt Lake Tribune:

“Yeah, it was tough. I’m gonna be in a bubble, but yet if I leave to go see my baby born, I’m gonna be quarantined on the way back in, and possibly have to miss a game or whatever the situation is that we’ll currently be in. There’s just a lot of things that go into play.”

His wife, Mary, was due to give birth Aug. 27. They have two children.

Conley will have quarantine protocols

Numerous NBA players have already left the bubble and successfully returned. The NBA allows for excused absences for family emergencies, the birth of a child or any similar reason.

When they return, players are required to spend four days in quarantine “as long as the person tested negative for COVID-19 each day they were outside the campus.”

Conley will miss the first two game and possibly the third.

The Jazz begin their first-round series against the Nuggets at 1:30 p.m. ET on Monday. Game 2 is Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET and Game 3 is 4 p.m. ET Friday. The series continues Aug. 23 with if-necessary Games 5-7 on Aug. 25, Aug. 27 and Aug. 29.

Conley is averaging 18 points and five assists per game in the bubble.

Mike Conley in a purple jersey that says "Jazz" and holding a basketball.
Mike Conley has returned home for the birth of his son and will miss the at least the first game of the Jazz's first-round playoff series. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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