Pistons rookie Doumbouya in France amid hiatus

Despite a league-wide recommendation that players avoid non-essential travel, Detroit Pistons rookie Sekou Doumbouya is back home in France to be with his family while the league is on hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, the team confirmed to the Associated Press on Saturday.

Doumbouya, who the Pistons selected with the No. 15 overall pick in last year’s draft, was born in Guinea but moved to France when he was a child. The 19-year-old was averaging 6.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in 38 games for the Pistons this season when the league suspended operations due to the coronavirus.

[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]

The NBA recommended that all players avoid non-essential travel shortly after it suspended operations on March 11, though permitted them to go to another city within the country than where their team is based and stay there during the pandemic if they wanted to.

Doumbouya’s decision to travel internationally could end up impacting him when the NBA resumes play, should there be travel bans, restrictions or a quarantine period put in place on those returning to the United States. 

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, however, said on Friday that the league is “not in a position to make any decisions” about resuming play in any form. So, Doumbouya’s travel likely won’t be a big deal at this point.

France has been extremely hard-hit by the virus in recent weeks, and had more than 111,800 confirmed cases as of Saturday night, according to The New York Times. The country is currently on a lockdown.

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