After spending an entire season without a true home arena and dealing with the daily uncertainties of COVID for nearly two years now, Fred VanVleet and the Raptors are trying to treat things like business as usual while Omicron wreaks havoc across the NBA. Follow our Raptors coverage all season long on Yahoo Sports Canada.
FRED VANVLEET: --problem with it today.
- [INAUDIBLE] super.
- Go ahead, everybody. [INAUDIBLE].
- So, Fred, how weird was that?
FRED VANVLEET: Not weird at all. I mean, we've been through this already last year. So it's just business as usual. The show must go on, and you know, it is what it is. We went out there with a good approach and was able to get the win. So we'll take it.
- You've also been through having teammates and yourself in protocols, and now Pascal and Dalano. Obviously, you feel for them. How do you help the group through that?
FRED VANVLEET: Just stay focused. I think you just put one foot in front of the other, stay focused on the things we can control. We're all in a vulnerable situation, uncertain situation. And, you know, the one thing that's constant is that things will not be constant. You know what I mean?
It's a lot of ups and downs and lack of continuity. And, you know, here we are. So I think we're all in it together, and it's gonna be a lot of things that come our way, obviously. And we just focus on the work, coming to work every day, do your job, and trying to stay positive.
- Do you feel vulnerable because you are around so many people, or because you're athletes, or because your lifestyle is such that you're out and about all the time? [INAUDIBLE] vulnerable to me.
FRED VANVLEET: Just in the sense that nobody knows what is going on, even the experts. They know more than we do, but they don't have the best understanding of everything. We're listening to the doctors and the rules and what the NBA says. We're trying to keep showing up for work.
But again, I don't think there's enough information to know what exactly to expect. And we are playing-- we're putting our bodies to the test, physically, with a sickness that's out there. So we just try to, again, stay diligent with the things that they're telling us to do and, again, remain optimistic and just stick together.
- Fred, do you-- you know Jama pretty well. And obviously he's got a big role now over with Golden State. You see the Kuminga played today. What do you think Jon can bring to an organization like Golden State with very young talent?
FRED VANVLEET: He's just a good person, first and foremost. It's hard to find somebody that doesn't like Jama-- just a positive guy, upbeat guy, great family guy. And he just puts things in the right perspective. But also he has a talent for obviously developing and cultivating the talent and working out guys, and just staying positive, breaking down the film.
So he was big for a lot of our guys here. And I think he'll be a great asset for that organization. And he's seen a lot. From the way he started in this industry to where he is now, he's seen a lot. So he can now offer expertise on a lot of different levels.
- Thank you.
- Fred, at what point tonight do you expect looking for OG and Precious and trying to get them back in the mix, I mean, and sort of take advantage of a game time?
FRED VANVLEET: Not really at all, to be honest with you. Just focus on the win. You know, it was good for those guys to get out there and get their wind up. Kind of gotta ease them into it. Precious was able to find a little bit. OG find a couple ISO buckets. But just-- they gotta get up and down and break the wind and break the sweat, and we'll use them back. But it was just great to have them back.
- --trying to get back in the court to get those three rebounds?
FRED VANVLEET: No, I was not. I was not. I had the opportunity. But knowing my luck, I would get a very minor injury, trying to chase down a rebound or something, and be dealing with it for the rest of the year. So I'm just finally now getting healthy after about a month of a few different things. And I'm trying to stay that way.
- What were you doing closing out the shooters, when you need them rebounds?
FRED VANVLEET: Yeah, I don't know. I gotta be a little more selfish. I think I can get 'em though. If I actually tried to get a triple double, I probably could get it. But every time I get close, I just can't make myself hunt it the way I need to. And being the shortest guy on the court doesn't really help in terms of chasing rebounds down. My teammates, they're not giving me the Westbrook treatment where they get out the way and let me go get it. So I might have to have a talk with them about that.
- [INAUDIBLE] better from Kyle [INAUDIBLE].
FRED VANVLEET: Yeah. No, Kyle-- yeah, Kyle is a lot more relentless than I am when it comes to that.
- That's the word.
FRED VANVLEET: Yeah, relentless. So we'll say that. So shout-out to him. At some point, I'll get there. But tonight was definitely not gonna be that night for me.
- One other-- Nick was talking earlier about the disruption to the daily schedule with this [INAUDIBLE]. And you don't know whether test at this time, or this time, or that time, or-- how screwed up does that make your life?
FRED VANVLEET: Again, yes, it does. [CHUCKLING] It does, you know, on all levels. And there's an added layer to that of us being here in Toronto and in Canada, and having to follow a different set of public safety and different health stipulations that we gotta abide by. Because it's certainly a different culture than it is in the States when it comes to just the way the health system is and COVID in general.
So it's a little tighter here. You know, the requirements are a little bit different. But again, just trying to remain optimistic and stay upbeat about it. We learned a lot about the situation being in Tampa last year. And, you know, here we are. We're gonna keep plugging away until told otherwise. But as of now, it just feels like the show gotta go on. And we'll continue to show up every day and do our job.
FRED VANVLEET: Thanks, guys.
- Stay safe.