Quinn Cook on returning to Lakers’ practice facility: ‘It just felt good to be back’

Lakers guard Quinn Cook
Lakers guard Quinn Cook reacts after hitting a three-pointer against the Chicago Bulls on Nov. 5.
(Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press)

When Quinn Cook arrived at the Lakers practice facility Saturday, he was greeted with the familiar and the unfamiliar.

It was the same building in El Segundo where he’d spent September through mid-March, but so much else had changed.

After driving through the gate to the secluded players’ parking lot, Cook had to stop at a station where his temperature was checked by nurses. Before he entered the building, Andrew Henk, the Lakers’ equipment manager, provided Cook with shoes to wear.

“Whatever shoes and flip-flops we wore, we had to leave them outside. We had to wash our hands as soon as we walk in the door,” Cook said during a live broadcast with teammate Jared Dudley on Instagram. “Once we get inside, all of our stuff is kind of right there on the court.”

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Cook and Devontae Cacok were the only players to use the facility Saturday. Alex Caruso used it Monday; Dudley said he and Danny Green planned to do so too.

The NBA closed all team facilities in mid-March. Around that time, two Lakers players tested positive for COVID-19. The league allowed teams to open their facilities beginning May 8.

Cook has spent most of the last two months in Los Angeles but went to Atlanta and worked out with Jarrett Jack, who spent 13 seasons in the NBA and now plays on the G-League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce. Cook said he returned when it seemed Los Angeles was starting to loosen its restrictions, and to avoid the more aggressive loosening of restrictions that Georgia was conducting.

Public health officials allowed the Lakers to open their facility Saturday for individual workouts with no more than four players in the building at a time under the supervision of their hygiene officer, director of sports performance Judy Seto.

The county deemed use of the facility for individual workouts acceptable because it was part of “rehabilitation and physical wellness.”

Lakers center Dwight Howard has had to endure the death of Kobe Bryant and the NBA shutdown. Then the mother of his 6-year-old son died.

The players can work with one assistant coach — Cook worked with Mike Penberthy — and both player and coach must follow strict protocols.

Cook said he was required to wear a mask inside the building, but not while working out. Penberthy wore a mask and gloves at all times.

Cook also worked with strength coach Gunnar Peterson in a slightly altered weight room with the machines spread a little farther apart than normal.

“It just felt good to be back in the facility,” Cook said.