Rick Carlisle has rejoined the Mavericks for their trip to Washington after the team’s 99-86 victory over New York under acting head coach Jamahl Mosley.
Carlisle, who was fully vaccinated three months ago, tested positive for the coronavirus Friday morning in New York and entered safety protocols while awaiting results of further testing.
He said before the game that his hope was that his morning test was a false-positive.
While it’s unknown if that’s the case, clearly Carlisle got good returns on subsequent tests.
“Rick has been cleared to travel with us to D.C.,” Mosley said, without elaborating.
Presumably, Carlisle will be back on the sideline Saturday against the Wizards. But it certainly was a strange Friday in New York.
“In this year of the unexpected, I had an unexpected positive test this morning,” Carlisle said on a conference call with reporters from his hotel room in New York about 90 minutes before the game. “There’s a chance and there’s a hope that it will be a false positive. I’m fortunate to have been fully vaccinated since January. And so, this seems like possibly a mistake.
“But for these reasons, obviously, I’m entering the protocols. I’ve been retested. There may need to be more retesting depending on what the league decides based on the entire situation. But I’m hopeful that it’s a false-positive.”
Carlisle had hoped to get his retest results in time to coach Friday night against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. But that didn’t happen, so Mosley, who is Carlisle’s defensive coordinator and top assistant, took over as the Mavericks’ courtside leader.
“Mose is great. I’m happy for him,” said Kristaps Porzingis. “He’s been working really hard. He’s a great communicator. He knows how to bring everybody together.”
Added Luka Dončić: “He was great. It’s not easy, but he did an amazing job. He managed the game perfectly. We’re just happy to have this win for him.”
None of the Mavericks’ players were forced to enter the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, Carlisle said, because his positive test result happened before he would become contagious.
“The game-day testing is designed so that if this kind of thing happens and someone is positive, they can be pulled from circulation before the incubation period starts and someone that is positive actually becomes contagious,” Carlisle said. “So there’s a system to this. To my knowledge, it won’t affect any player’s ability to play tonight or any coach’s ability to coach or staff ability to support the team.”
Interestingly, it was Carlisle’s 1,500th game as a head coach on Friday. He’ll get credit for the win even though Mosley was the acting head coach. But clearly, the Mavericks were in good hands with Mosley, Carlisle said.
“This is a great opportunity for him,” Carlisle said before the game. “He’s obviously in my opinion ready for this kind of opportunity and this is something he’ll thrive in.
“I contacted Jamahl (Friday afternoon) and let him know that it’s highly possible and perhaps likely that he would coach the team tonight. I think the extra couple of hours is key. I said it’s up to him, but he may want to adjust his pregame routine, some of his workout stuff on the floor with players just so he can do a little more mental preparation, but that’s totally up to him.
“I’ve been a big supporter of his for a long time. I’ve been a very strong advocate for him in all the interviews he’s had the last couple years. And I see this as a great opportunity for him to show what he’s capable of and our guys will play their butts off for him.”
Mosley has been a finalist for several head coaching positions during the past couple of years.
Carlisle said he has no symptoms, which is what makes the positive test so curious.
“I feel great,” he said. “I worked out early this morning. I feel good. But this is just one of these situations where we all got to be light on our feet.”