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CJ McCollum announces he’s not signing autographs as precaution against coronavirus

Blazers, CJ McCollum

CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers has announced on Saturday morning that he will no longer be signing autographs, after reports indicated that the coronavirus has hit Oregon. McCollum announced his decision on Twitter:

As cases of the highly infectious disease continue to rise dramatically worldwide, all people, NBA players included, should be taking every precaution to avoid contraction and transmission of the disease.

So far, the global death toll of the virus is approaching 3,000, with the first U.S. death occurring on Saturday, according to the CDC.

Not to make light of the situation, but McCollum is doing what he believes is best for his own personal safety, and you certainly can’t criticize him for that. Minimizing contact with strangers seems to be the safe and reasonable decision to make. The Blazers are locked in a tight battle for the 8th spot in the Western Conference, which is incredibly wide-open at this juncture.

Though McCollum and the Trail Blazers have lost seven of their past 10 games, they only sit two and a half games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 spot, and only half a game behind the New Orleans Pelicans for the No. 9 spot in the standings. Beyond that, a total of only four and a half games separates the eighth-seeded Grizzlies from the 13th-seeded Phoenix Suns, meaning the end of the regular season in the West is sure to entertaining and unpredictable.

McCollum is certainly doing his part to keep the Blazers afloat, especially with Damian Lillard out with a groin injury. In his age-28 season, McCollum is putting up career-highs in field goals attempted (19.4) and made (8.7) per game, showing that his role has been elevated in order to help send the Blazers – once again – into the playoffs.