After being cleared from the COVID-19 health and safety protocols on Sunday, Toronto Raptors centre Khem Birch faced the media a day later to discuss his experiences with the virus.
The 29-year-old said he, along with his wife and daughter, tested positive for the coronavirus in late September, just before Raptors training camp tipped off. Birch added that he lost his sense of smell and felt fatigued.
Birch's wife had similar symptoms, while his daughter was asymptomatic. He and his wife are fully vaccinated, which Birch is thankful for.
“Thank God, or it probably would have been worse,” Birch told reporters on Monday.
The Montreal native is expected to make his preseason debut Monday against the Houston Rockets at Scotiabank Arena. While it’ll take some time for him to get back into game shape, he’s confident he’ll catch up and be ready soon.
Birch has played the best basketball of his career since signing with Toronto midway through last season. In 19 games with the Raptors, Birch averaged career-highs of 11.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, carving out a role as the team’s starting centre.
His competition to retain that role will be fierce, and has already been threatened by Precious Achiuwa's hot start as a Raptor.
Finally healthy and ready to join the group, Birch will look to bolster a weakened frontcourt that is missing the injured Pascal Siakam and Chris Boucher to start the season.
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