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Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell returns to NBA bubble after three weeks away

Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell yells after getting called for a foul.
Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell indicated Monday he is back in the NBA bubble.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

In a series of social media posts, Clippers center Montrezl Harrell indicated he has returned to the NBA’s Disney World campus after three weeks away and is in the process of rejoining his team ahead of its playoff push.

“I’m back!!!!!!!!” Harrell tweeted Monday morning. On Instagram, he posted a video that he’d geotagged at Disney Springs, which is a section of the resort.

A finalist for the NBA’s sixth man award given to the league’s top reserve — after averaging 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game — Harrell left the team July 17 to be with an ailing grandmother. The grandmother later died, according to Harrell’s posts late last month, and Clippers coach Doc Rivers acknowledged at the time that the team had told Harrell to take as much time as he needed.

“This for you MA!!!!!” Harrell tweeted early Monday. “IM DIFFERENT BELIEVE THAT!”

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Harrell’s arrival means the Clippers’ 15-man roster will soon be at full strength for the first time since the team arrived in Orlando, Fla., one month ago for the restart of the league’s season.

The Clippers (47-23) are in second place in the Western Conference standings with games against Denver on Wednesday and Oklahoma City on Friday remaining. Rivers, speaking after a loss to Brooklyn on Sunday, said he was hopeful Harrell can clear the league’s quarantine process in time to play Friday against the Thunder.

By resting Paul George, Clippers coach Doc Rivers makes it clear that keeping his star players healthy is a priority in the team’s 129-120 loss to the Nets.

Such a timeline would indicate Harrell is undergoing a four-day quarantine. The league’s health and safety protocols permit players to be cleared after four days of quarantine if they left for an extended absence but were tested daily, and returned negative test results, for at least the seven days before their return to Orlando.

The postseason begins Aug. 17. The Clippers are currently one game ahead of Denver in the standings. Should they finish with the West’s second seed, they likely will play Dallas in the postseason’s first round. Should they fall to third, they could play either Houston, Utah or Oklahoma City, the three teams within 1½ games of one another entering the final week of the seeding round.


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