TORONTO – Khem Birch has finally rejoined the Toronto Raptors after recovering from COVID-19.
The Montreal center spoke to the media for the first time this season after target practice Monday morning, saying that he and his family arrived in Toronto on September 18 and that this week they all tested positive for the virus.
“I lost the smell and a little bit of fatigue,” Birch said of her symptoms. But I think I can go back. I feel good now. I think the form of the game is different, it just isn’t played. We’ll see tonight. “
The Raptors, who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, hosted the Houston Rockets in a preseason game on Monday.
“We’re all 100% vaccinated too, so thank goodness,” Birch said of her family. “If we weren’t, it probably would have been worse.”
Birch, 29, said his wife lost her sense of taste and smell, while her daughter suffered no symptoms.
It wasn’t the start to the season Birch was hoping for after signing a three-year, $ 20 million deal with Toronto in the preseason. Orlando bought the Canadian at the end of last season and he was impressive in his 19 appearances with the Raptors to finish his 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida, averaging 11.9 points and grabbing 7.6 rebounds per game.
Birch hopes he can recover quickly.
“I can probably feel good after the game tonight or (Tuesday),” he said. “I usually get in shape fast. Fortunately, we have a full week of practice before our first (regular season) game. Right now I’m going to go out there and play as hard as I can, not worrying about the score on the box, just worrying about getting the W. “
The Raptors don’t count on fellow Montreal center Chris Boucher, who underwent surgery last week to repair a dislocated finger. Pascal Siakam is recovering from shoulder surgery, while Yuta Watanabe is offside with a calf strain.
Toronto hosts Washington on Tuesday to conclude its preseason. The Raptors open the regular season on October 20 against the visiting Washington Wizards.
This Canadian Press report was first published on October 11, 2021.
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