Bucks point guard Jrue Holiday offers support for Khris Middleton and Aaron Rodgers in their COVID-19 diagnoses

If anyone can understand what Khris Middleton and Aaron Rodgers are going through, it’s Jrue Holiday.

The Milwaukee Bucks point guard felt the symptoms of COVID-19 last year in early February, and he couldn’t practice for three weeks. After he returned to action he called the symptoms “miserable.”

After acknowledging he was sick for bit during the last week and seeing Middleton home due to the virus, Holiday said, “This is crazy. It’s kind of bad timing you know? But I guess you really never get COVID at the right time or get sick at the right time. I just feel like at this point you have to take care of yourself. That’s part of the reason why we got the vaccine, so that hopefully the symptoms aren’t as bad and he can come back quicker, faster. But yeah, you just gotta protect yourself. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know where or how he got it and he should just lay low, sleep and get some fluids and he’ll be back soon.”

Middleton entered the NBA’s health and safety protocol on Monday.

Rodgers entered the NFL’s protocol on Wednesday. The Green Bay Packers quarterback was not vaccinated against COVID-19. In August, Rodgers said he was immunized.

“He’s a professional athlete but at the end of the day he’s a grown man and he did his research and he did what he felt was right for him,” Holiday said of Rodgers. “You can’t be mad at that. So, I hope he’s also doing well. COVID is not fun. When you have the symptoms — I had the symptoms — it’s not fun, but I just think for him he did what he felt was best for him, his family and his teammates so from here I guess he has to do what he has to do.”

In late April, Holiday was part of an NBA public service campaign in support of the COVID-19 vaccine, and he was asked if he would be comfortable with a teammate who believed he was immunized against the virus as opposed to vaccinated.

“Would I feel comfortable? Yeah, I’m fine with either,” Holiday said. “I got vaccinated for a reason. Just in case I got it or somebody else got it and I don’t want to pass it on to my loved ones and people like that. I feel like the vaccination helps with that. Also, if I were to get it, it would hopefully not make it as bad as when I first got it. It sucked. But these are my decisions and my reasons.”

While Holiday missed 10 games last season after he contracted COVID-19, he said his time away from the team strengthened his bond with teammates due to their care and communication. With that, Holiday has made sure to be there for Middleton, and the two-time Bucks All-Star has also made sure to reach out to others.

“It’s extremely nice, knowing what he’s going through right now,” Bucks guard Rodney Hood said. “He’s in our best wishes and prayers. He’s been watching the game and stuff and sending messages. It’s a big booster, even though he’s not here with us physically he’s able to talk and give us words of encouragement.”

What else was encouraging for the Bucks and Holiday was Thursday’s practice at the Sports Science Center.

The 31-year-old point guard has missed five straight games with an ankle sprain and was able to practice with the Bucks. It’s been a slow start for Holiday, as he played in the season opener Oct. 19 and then missed the next game due to thigh and heel bruises. He maxed out his minutes (25) against San Antonio on Oct. 23 but suffered the ankle injury.

Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer was noncommittal about whether Holiday would play Friday night against the New York Knicks.

“If I’m going to play, I want to play,” Holiday said. “Yes, there are probably going to be minute restrictions and that is smart, but I feel like any athlete, you don’t just go out there and think, well, I’m coming off an injury I want to play 20 minutes, 25 minutes. No, you want to play because you want to win. So going out there I’ll do what they tell me to do for as long as I need to do it and then try not to complain so much because, especially depending on how the games go, I want to get in.”

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