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Patrick Patterson describes the Clippers’ training facility as it prepares to open

Clippers forward Patrick Patterson controls the ball during a game.
Clippers forward Patrick Patterson says he feels safe at the club’s training facility with all the precautions the team has taken.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

The Clippers’ training facility in Playa Vista opened its doors a few weeks ago for the first time since the NBA season was suspended March 11, but some of the team’s top players will be seeing it for the first time later this month when all players report, get tested for the coronavirus and begin training camp.

Clippers forward Patrick Patterson was one of the first players at the facility when it opened May 18. He expects more players to come to the facility over the next two weeks now that the NBA is set to resume the season at the end of July in Orlando.

“When it first opened up, there was a mixture of guys who wanted to come back and others who wanted to wait,” Patterson said. “Not everyone was on the same page, and that’s fine. There are some guys who are more concerned about the safety issues. They want to do the smart thing. There were guys waiting to see what the plan was. Family is first and safety is first.”

Patrick Beverley was one of those players. He spent time in Los Angeles and Houston during the break and worked out on his own but didn’t want to put his family at risk by going into the training facility when there was no set plan for the NBA’s return.

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Although Patterson understands the concerns, he said he had felt safe at the training facility with all the precautions the team had taken in terms of testing and social distancing.

“The most uncomfortable part was the COVID-19 nasal swab test,” Patterson said. “They just want to make sure when everyone comes in that everyone is good. In order to come inside the facility to work out, you have to get tested. When the results come back and you’re clear, you can go in to work out.

“There’s a limited amount of parking spaces in order to create space in the parking lot and limit the amount of people who can come inside. You have to walk in wearing a mask and gloves, and they take your temperature and ask you how you’re feeling and if you’re taking any medication, vitamins or pills. They clean anything you’re bringing in as far as cellphones, keys, wallet or anything else. It’s a very thorough process.”

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As much as Patterson has enjoyed the ability to work out and practice at the facility again, like with many things during the pandemic, he has had to adjust to the new rules that come with going back to work.

“Only two to four players are allowed to be there at the same time,” Patterson said. “Maybe two guys are on the court and two guys are in the weight room. You get about an hour and then you flip flop and do something else. It’s a limited amount of time. We’re only allowed to be in there for about 2½ hours.

“Everyone is really spaced out. There are only four chairs in the locker room. Each guy is in their own corner of the room. Showers are very limited. They clean everything you touch as soon as you’re done with it, from basketballs on the court to weights. They wipe down the court, the basketball rim, any equipment you might use, so it’s clean for the next person.”

The Clippers have been preparing since the start of the season to play for a title, but their playoff path will look much different than anticipated.

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Clippers coach Doc Rivers said about 12 of the 17 players, including those on two-way contracts, had used the facility.

“The groups are broken up,” Patterson said, “but the ones I’ve seen are Terance Mann, Rodney McGruder, Ivica Zubac and JaMychal Green.

“But we’re constantly talking to each other on group chat so we’re able to keep tabs on each other and stay involved in each other’s lives. There’s still constant contact even if we haven’t been able to practice together yet.”

After working out individually and in small groups for three months, Patterson is looking forward to finally seeing all of his teammates and coaches June 21 when training camp begins.

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“I’m ready,” Patterson said. “Everyone is ready to come back and play and finish out the season and compete for a championship.”


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