Jeremy Lin, others returning to China for league’s restart after coronavirus hiatus

The Chinese Basketball Association is ready to make its return after suspending play indefinitely on Feb. 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and several foreign players have started to make the trek back to China.

Jeremy Lin made that trip this week, trekking nearly 40 hours from the Bay Area back to Beijing.

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“Safely landed back in Beijing to finish out the CBA season!” Lin wrote on Instagram, in part. “Excited to hoop again, but leaving the Bay worried and with a heavy heart for the sick, the jobless and all those fighting fear, anxiety and stress over the unknown future.”

Lin included a photo of him autographing a medical worker’s uniform at the airport in his Instagram carousel. He also posted that photo to Weibo, a Chinese social media platform where he has more than 6 million followers, and quickly saw it become the most popular post on the platform, according to ESPN.

Lin — who slammed President Donald Trump’s racist remarks after he referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus” this week — was having a tremendous season with the Beijing Ducks before the league suspended operations in January, averaging 24.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. 

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, which started in Wuhan, China, late last year, the CBA is planning to run on a modified schedule and system when it starts back up in mid-April. According to ESPN, all 20 teams are expected to play in one or two cities in the country with a shortened schedule both in the regular season and postseason, and will play games without fans present. Mainland China has been one of the hardest-hit regions in the world, and has seen nearly 81,000 cases and 3,245 deaths due to the coronavirus as of Friday, according to the New York Times. There are at least 250,800 cases across the globe, and at least 10,300 have died.

Lin is one of several notable players who has returned to China ahead of the season restart, joining Ty Lawson, Donatas Motiejunas, Kyle Fogg, Ekpe Udoh and others. Lance Stephenson is expected to return in the near future, too.

Lin, like the rest of his foreign counterparts returning to China, will have to spend two weeks in quarantine. He seemed to take that news well, however.

“I am fully ready to workout in my room in the next 14 days, after which I will get back to the court with my teammates and finish the season with our best performance,” Lin said, via ESPN.

After making the 40-hour trek back to Beijing, Jeremy Lin will spend the next two weeks in quarantine before the Chinese Basketball Association starts back up. (Fred Lee/Getty Images)

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