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OKC Thunder: Dennis Schröder plans to leave bubble for birth of child

Dennis Schröder plans to leave the NBA bubble in three to four weeks for the birth of his second child, the Thunder point guard said Tuesday after practice. 

"I'm not gonna leave my wife by herself while she's having a second baby," Schröder said. "Dennis) Jr. is still 17 months old, so I'm for sure gonna go there and support her and try as much as I can to be there for my family." 

Players can leave the NBA bubble for excused absences, including the birth of a child. Players who leave for excused absences must quarantine for four days upon returning to the Disney complex as long as they test negative for the coronavirus each day they were off campus, according to the NBA’s health and safety protocols document. Players who leave for unexcused absences must quarantine for 10 days upon returning. 

Schröder could miss multiple seeding games, and his absence might stretch into the playoffs. 

"For me it's tough," Schröder said. "I love my teammates, I love basketball, but family comes first all the time. I'll try to make something happen with the organization. I sacrifice a lot for my team, but like I said, we still gotta get on the same page that I can see my family maybe when the baby is coming. We're going to make it work." 

Schröder isn’t the only NBA player in this position. Celtics forward Gordon Hayward said he will leave the bubble in September when his wife is due. Jazz guard Mike Conley is likely to do the same in August. 

Based on the timeline Schröder provided, his wife Ellen is due anytime between Aug. 4 and Aug. 11. 

The Thunder (40-24) will play eight seeding games from Aug. 1 to Aug. 14 to determine playoff positioning. The first round of the playoffs begins Aug. 17. Schröder would theoretically have to return to Disney World by Aug. 13 to be available to play Aug. 17. 

Schröder is a frontrunner in the Sixth Man of the Year race. The 26-year-old guard is averaging 19 points per game while shooting a career-high 46.8% from the field. He's the Thunder's second-best 3-point shooter at 38.1%. 

“I think everybody would agree that he is more than capable of being a starting point guard in the league,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “His unselfishness to put the team first and his willingness to come off the bench has been great.” 

The Thunder ranks ninth in the NBA in bench scoring at 39.4 points per game. Schröder alone is responsible for 48% of that output. 

The Thunder would not only miss a scoring spark off its bench, but also a key component of its closing lineup. Schröder regularly replaced Terrance Ferguson or Luguentz Dort late in fourth quarters to join the starters. 

“As a leader, he's been invaluable,” Donovan said. “But the one thing I've always admired about Dennis is I think he's always raised the competitive spirit of our team.” 

Related Photos
Oklahoma City's Dennis Schroder (17) and Chris Paul (3) celebrates during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020.  [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma City's Dennis Schroder (17) and Chris Paul (3) celebrates during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9edd6710e75e48d6d9bfad7f8c220a3b.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Dennis Schroder (17) and Chris Paul (3) celebrates during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]" title="Oklahoma City's Dennis Schroder (17) and Chris Paul (3) celebrates during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Dennis Schroder (17) and Chris Paul (3) celebrates during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure>
Joe Mussatto

Joe Mussatto joined The Oklahoman in August 2018 to cover OU football, men’s basketball and softball. He previously covered University of Kentucky football and basketball for SEC Country. Mussatto is from Oklahoma City and lives in Norman. Read more ›

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