With COVID-19 pause behind it, VCU returns to court

With COVID-19 pause behind it, VCU returns to court
VCU ended its COVID-19 pause and returned to practice on Monday, January 4, 2021. (Source: WWBT NBC12)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The pause ended up being a short one, but Mike Rhoades hopes this past weekend’s stoppage serves as a wake-up call to his players and staff to continue doing everything correctly in terms of COVID-19 safety.

“Our guys, since June 5, have been doing things the right way. It’s still not foolproof,” Rhoades said during his media availability on Monday morning. “You’re trying your hardest. We talk about being COVID smart, but nothing’s guaranteed.”

“This weekend brought us back to the ground about stay with it. Stay with it and try to do the best we can so we can keep playing.”

VCU announced on Saturday morning that it was pausing basketball activities due to COVID-19 protocols. Rhoades would not get into specifics as to whether it was a player or staff member who tested positive, nor would he discuss the possibility of a false positive, citing school policy. The head coach said the team was cleared to resume its regular routine on Sunday night.

“I just think it’s a rollercoaster of emotions for these young guys,” Rhoades said of the stoppage and uncertainty during it. “The neat thing is the guys just want to get on the court. They’re hoopers, they want to hoop and I’m glad we can do that.”

Rhoades and company returned to the practice court on Monday afternoon, ending a two day stoppage that is a far cry from what many other teams have experienced when battling coronavirus issues. Earlier this season, Richmond halted activities for five days, while Virginia is coming off of its second hiatus due to COVID-19. Some teams across the country have experienced pauses that have lasted for weeks. Fordham, VCU’s Atlantic 10 counterpart, cancelled its entire non-conference schedule and began play on December 30.

The Rams’ game against Davidson scheduled for Saturday was postponed and Rhoades said the conference will work with both schools in rescheduling the contest. Next up is a trip to George Mason on Wednesday night to take on a Patriots team that split its first two conference games.

Last season, George Mason handed the Rams a loss at the Siegel Center that began their downfall. The 72-67 defeat was the first of a dismal stretch that saw the black and gold lose seven of their final eight games.

Tipoff for Wednesday’s match-up is set for 7:00 PM in Fairfax. VCU returns home to host Rhode Island on Saturday at 2:00 PM.

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