Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic retested negative for the coronavirus in Serbia, but travel issues and the timing of the requisite testing made it difficult for the All-Star to join the team for its flight to Orlando, Florida.
The Nuggets departed Denver for Orlando on Tuesday.
"He's not en route as far as I know," new Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth said of Jokic in a Zoom call with reporters on Wednesday morning. "I think he is waiting just to get a proper flight, get out here. I think he's feeling good about his situation and ready to go."
Booth estimated that roughly three-quarters of the Nuggets' travel party was in Orlando and that the rest would trickle in once negative coronavirus test results were produced.
Booth was asked if there is any concern about Jokic being able to participate in the NBA's restart.
"No, I don't think we are concerned at all," Booth said. "I think he's excited about joining the bubble, being with his teammates and I think everybody realizes the opportunity we have. It is just a matter of getting him in the bubble safely and making sure he's healthy."
A source said Jokic is healthy. However, the center had to produce two negative coronavirus tests in Serbia before traveling to the United States. And then he was required to produce two more negative tests before flying to Orlando with the team. A source said the timing of everything made it difficult and too tight of a fit for Jokic before the team departed on Tuesday.
The Nuggets closed their team facility over a week ago after two members of the team's 35-member traveling party tested positive for the coronavirus, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported last week. Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst also reported on June 23 that Jokic tested positive for the coronavirus while in Serbia and that his return to the United States was temporarily delayed.
Players or staff members who have not tested negative for the coronavirus in the two days prior to the Nuggets' flight on Tuesday will travel to Orlando on their own once they produce two negative tests.