NORFOLK, Va. - In basketball, there are fast breaks. What the Old Dominion University men's basketball team recently experienced was the opposite.
"That's a long time to be off," said ODU head men's basketball coach Jeff Jones. "It's not like Christmas break or something like that. It's almost like going back into the preseason."
After winning three of their last four games, the Monarchs had back to back Conference USA weekend series - four games total - postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests within the program. ODU has not played a game since January 16th.
The team conducted its first five-on-five practice Tuesday, but Jones admitted his squad will still be "missing some guys" due to the "cardio protocol" when ODU hosts Marshall Friday and Saturday at Chartway Arena.
"There will definitely be a couple guys who will not be suited up," Jones revealed.
Jones, 60 years-old, is a cancer survivor. When asked if his perspective on the decision to press-on with a college basketball season amid a global pandemic has changed following his program's pause, he admitted he was torn.
"I'm fine with it, good with it - but I don't know if it's the smartest thing," Jones admitted. "But if we're going to do it, I want to do it the way we have and put our best foot forward and be the safest we can possibly be."
He said ODU's positive tests did not come from breach in protocols.
"I do think there's an inherent danger when you're traveling, flying all over the place to play these games," Jones noted. "You are put in situations where you just can't protect yourself the way you do when you're in your bubble or pod or whatever term you want to use."
The Monarchs' most-recent games were played at Rice University in Houston, Texas.
"I'm not one of these coaches who says we shouldn't be playing. But at the same time, I can't 100 percent say playing is the right thing either."
ODU, currently in second place in Conference USA's East division, hosts Marshall at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.