Tom Thibodeau discusses playing through fluid nature of COVID: 'No one's feeling sorry for anyone'

·2 min read
Tom Thibodeau encourages the team from the sideline while wearing mask
Tom Thibodeau encourages the team from the sideline while wearing mask

Although the pandemic is a reality we all have gotten used to, professional sports leagues are still fluid in their protocols, and even their schedules.

The NHL shut down earlier than regularly scheduled, and the NFL and NBA have postponed/rescheduled games due to COVID-19.

It's a situation that constantly is changing, and sadly, no end is in sight.

It's a cliche at this point, but Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau reflected on the adversity his players have faced since March 2020.

“The reality of our league, and I think being mentally tough when you face adversity is probably the most important thing in life," Thibodeau told reporters on Christmas Eve, "Things haven’t been going our way - we’ve had guys out and, as has most of the league, and then it’s how quickly can we adapt."

Plenty of teams throughout the league have had to make last second pickups just to simply fill out a roster for a game - in some cases, getting the minimum eight players required to play a game has been difficult to do.

"There’s a lot of guys out there that are playing that were here for one day. So you know, they’re giving you everything they have, and we have an appreciation for that," said Thibodeau. "And then guys that are still here, they’re playing with guys that they haven’t played with before. So how do you help them along? How do you get everyone connected? And we all share that responsibility. So the veterans that are being challenged in a different way right now and just get out there and find a way to get it done."

Thibodeau admitted that every day is a guessing game,

“You go into each game, and you don’t know who you’re going to have, and you don’t know who they’re going to have," said Thibodeau. "So you try to prepare for all the possibilities - they could be getting these guys back. It could be a different group. So you have to be ready for everyone. And you know what, no one’s feeling sorry for anyone. I know no one’s feeling sorry for us. We’ve had six guys out for a long time.”

The Knicks are still without Nerlens Noel, Kevin Knox, and Miles McBride. Obi Toppin played in his first game since Dec. 10 on Thursday, as he missed time with COVID-19, while the Knicks are still waiting for RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and Quentin Grimes to get their legs underneath them - they were activated from the list earlier this week, as well.

The Knicks get back into the swing of things on Christmas at noon when they host the Atlanta Hawks for redemption from getting knocked out in the first round of last season's NBA playoffs.