Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl Anthony Cities said there were nights after he tested positive for COVID-19 when his “vital signs were not good” and that his underlying conditions and genetics made his battle with the virus “scary” at times.
The cities, which missed 13 games in a row, returned to the field on Wednesday for the first time since the positive test in mid-January. He admitted that he wasn’t mentally prepared to play in his first game since Jan 13, but he still finished it with 18 points and 10 rebounds all in one 119-112 home defeat to the LA Clippers.
“I’m a high-risk case,” Towns said of his experience with the coronavirus. “COVID didn’t treat me well at all. Lots of scary nights. One of the things I said to my sister when I got COVID was, ‘Hey, I got it and I don’t have a good version of it. I have a lot of COVID inside of me, but I’ll fight and hit it. ‘”
The cities added, “During all those long nights where I wasn’t feeling well at all, and my vital signs weren’t good and decisions had to be made about my health, I stopped [my family and my niece and nephew] in the head. They urged me to keep going. As COVID kept playing around with my body, mind, and spirit, I thought of her and my mother. “
Towns has not only looked at the virus, but has also been sad since his mother, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, and six other family members died as a result of COVID-19. Towns had previously told in an emotional video that his mother was on a ventilator and in a medically induced coma. Cruz-Towns died on April 13 at the age of 58.
When discussing what made his fight with COVID-19 worse, Towns said he had certain underlying medical conditions, although he didn’t go into details, and also said that between his parents he was more “genetically linked” to his mother.
“You hear these stories about people getting COVID,” Towns said. “And they say, oh, four days, five days I didn’t feel good, and then one day I magically went around the corner and felt great. That didn’t happen to me.”
“Every case of COVID is completely different. Every person and their underlying conditions are completely different,” he added. “And my underlying conditions haven’t worked in my favor at all for COVID, but one of the scariest parts for all of us in this organization and my immediate family is how genetically connected I am to my mother.
“Nothing played in my favor. I knew it was going to be a tough journey.”
After his mother and other relatives died of COVID-19, Towns said he also felt tremendously guilty about his ability to overcome his illness with the resources he had access to that others may not have.
“I felt very guilty about the treatment I was getting,” he said. “And I feel that this should be generally available to Americans and everyone in the world. I felt very guilty about getting something of my own that could help me recover, stay healthy, stay alive. All this time there is such a mental burden, a sense of guilt because of the resources I have and I wish I could spread those resources with as many people as possible, the guilt, just a lot of demons that I am with didn’t concern myself, I took a back seat to basketball. “”
Towns, 25, has also heard the chorus of NBA players who have voiced their opinions and disagree with the league’s decision to hold an All-Star game this season amid the pandemic. He agreed with them like Los Angeles Lakers Forward Lebron Jameswho strongly believes there shouldn’t be an All-Star game this year.
“Personally, I don’t think there should be an all-star game, but what the hell do I know?” Cities swayed. “S —, I obviously didn’t deal with COVID, probably some guy who has some insight into that. What should I know about COVID, right?”
Towns said he realized he was mentally unwilling to return after joining the Timberwolves on a road trip. He added that he was mentally unprepared to play the Clippers on Wednesday and had been out of contact on the pitch for almost a month. But he wanted to be there for his teammates and coaches, whom he gave support and space in their difficult times.
Minnesota coach Ryan Saunders said Towns’ willingness to speak openly about his grief and experiences had a bigger impact than anything he did on the pitch.
“It takes a lot of courage in so many different ways,” Saunders said. “A lot of people experience grief and loss. You hear it, but until you live it, you don’t understand that grief is linear. Everyone goes through ups and downs. Karl has done an incredible job in my opinion when it comes to any kind of.” to manage the low moments he can have so that he can be a light to other people. “
Cities admitted that there had been many dark moments in the past few weeks when he was in quarantine. He said he just wants the coronavirus to be eradicated.
“I’ve seen so much in the last year – I think you would say. It is exactly what it is,” Towns said. “I can’t understand all the things that have happened in the world, but I can understand for myself.
“Let’s find a solution and make a plan to overcome this.”
“COVID is a real thing,” Towns added. “It’ll never go away. It hasn’t diminished at all. It’s just gotten smarter.”