Myles Turner
Matt Kryger

Turner Has Unique Perspective on COVID-19

Pacers Center Discusses Father's Diagnosis and Recovery
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Pacers center Myles Turner knows firsthand the impact of COVID-19.

Not long after the NBA suspended its season on March 11, Turner's father David tested positive for the virus. The elder Turner was eventually admitted to a hospital in the Dallas area for a number of days, isolated from the rest of his family.

Thankfully, David Turner's condition eventually improved, allowing him to be discharged and return home.

"His recovery process took a while," Myles Turner told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday. "He was on oxygen for a little bit. He's better now, but it was definitely scary at the time."

Turner's father is well known to many Pacers fans. He travels from Dallas to Indianapolis to attend almost every home game, sitting in the lower bowl of Bankers Life Fieldhouse across the court from the Pacers' bench. His animated reactions to big plays have earned him some TV time over the years.

"He's been there every step of the way for me," Myles Turner said. "Since I got into the league, he's done everything he could to make sure I have what I need to succeed. I think he's someone who has sacrificed a lot for me to be able to get to where I am today."

While he did not want to see the NBA season come to an abrupt stop, the hiatus has in some ways been a blessing for Turner. He traveled back to Dallas shortly after the season was suspended and was able to be at home with his mother and sister while his father was in the hospital. He has since gotten to spend quality time with his dad after his recovery.

Otherwise, Turner's daily routine is similar to other NBA players temporarily stuck at home. He wakes up early each morning to workout. Every day he lifts weights, does conditioning, and practices yoga — something he picked up a few years ago.

Turner has also used the break to educate himself, reading up on a variety of topics, including expanding his understanding of personal finances.

"The biggest thing was the stock market," Turner said. "That was something I never really got into...I've been getting into that a lot more, seeing how the money's moving, seeing how the market affects the economy. That's something I didn't learn in school."

Turner also speaks frequently to his Pacers teammates via text messages. He and his father have been watching "The Last Dance," ESPN's new 10-part documentary on Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, every Sunday night.

Before the season stopped, Turner was playing some of his best basketball. He collected four double-doubles in his last eight games and blocked four or more shots in five of those contests, including a career-high eight rejections in a win over Charlotte on Feb. 25.

Turner is hopeful that the NBA can resume at some point this season. The Pacers were well on their way to their fifth straight playoff appearance, a streak that started Turner's rookie season. Indiana has not advanced past the first round over that span, but Turner said he was "optimistic" that this team was equipped to make a deep run.

"I most definitely want to play," Turner said. "That's just the competitor in me and I think we started to get some good leverage towards the end of the season."

Still, Turner knows firsthand the impact of COVID-19 and the dangers of returning to action too early. He expressed confidence that the NBA won't return until the government deems it safe.

"There's a lot of legitimate concerns," Turner said. "...From a personal standpoint, I've seen how it can affect a family. I know this virus isn't going anywhere now until we come up with a vaccine...All we can do now is follow the CDC guidelines and hope for the best."

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