DENVER — No one wants the coronavirus.

But is an athlete contracting the virus before pro sports return actually a blessing in disguise? 

The Denver Nuggets are one franchise that's about to find out. All-Star center Nikola Jokic tested positive for the coronavirus while in his home country of Serbia, ESPN reported Tuesday. Jokic is asymptomatic and expected to return to the United States and the Nuggets later this week.

Thanks in no small part to their generational big man, the Nuggets hold the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and have qualified for the postseason. NBA teams are expected to travel to Orlando starting July 7 for training camp. The season is scheduled to resume July 30.

It remains to be seen if Jokic getting the virus now — instead of later, after play resumes and he'd be forced to sit out — is actually a positive development for the Nuggets. Jokic spent the pandemic undergoing a significant body makeover, losing close to 40 pounds. 

"He's beach ready. He has abs," president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said recently.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone also tested positive for the virus during the pandemic.

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)

Load comments