ORLANDO, Fla. (KXAN/AP) — The San Antonio Spurs have cleared quarantine and are living life fully immersed in the “NBA bubble” after their first practices over the weekend.

“It felt good. I mean, we felt like a lot of loose poodles let out the cage, running around shooting ball…just being around the guys after months not playing, everything going on in the world, for us to come together, and we kind of had a great discussion before we even started practice,” DeMar DeRozan said about the team’s first practice.

In a Zoom press conference on Saturday, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, 71, said he had to think carefully on returning to bench for this NBA experiment during the coronavirus pandemic, but ultimately believes the league’s environment will be safe.

“I honestly do believe…it’s not just being a loyal soldier of the NBA, I’ve done my share of criticizing here and there when I thought it was necessary…I don’t know where else you would be as safe as we are right now,” Popovich said.

The Spurs will need to do some work to continue their lockdown work from Walt Disney World for more than two weeks.

Currently in 12th place in the Western Conference, San Antonio will be one of 22 teams, resuming the NBA season in Orlando on July 31. The Spurs are battling five other teams for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

San Antonio opens the seeding portion of the new season against the Sacramento Kings on July 31. The Spurs have eight games to play and sit four games out of eighth place as the franchise hopes to extend its record playoff streak to 23 straight seasons.

LaMarcus Aldridge will miss the remainder of the 2020 season after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder in April.

Spurs Schedule

  • Sacramento Kings — July 31
  • Memphis Grizzlies — August 2
  • Philadelphia 76ers — August 3
  • Denver Nuggets — August 5
  • Utah Jazz — August 7
  • New Orleans Pelicans — August 9
  • Houston Rockets — August 11
  • Utah Jazz — August 13