NBA Draft

NBA COVID updates: Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, Bulls’ Alex Caruso in health and safety protocols

With the omicron variant running rampant, NBA rosters are in flux. Dallas Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis and Bulls guard Alex Caruso are among the many players in the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. In related news, since Dec. 26, tighter protocols — stricter mask requirements, increased testing — have been in effect. These rules will be in place until Jan. 8. 

Another change: Some players can now clear health and safety protocols and return to play as soon as five days after testing positive, provided that they are asymptomatic, vaccinated and likely not contagious (i.e. their cycle threshold is above 30).

Players to have recently cleared protocols include the Atlanta Hawks’ John Collins, the New York Knicks’ Julius Randle, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. 

Between the tweaked return-to-play policy and the new rule mandating teams to use hardship exceptions when multiple players are in protocols, the NBA is aiming to avoid postponing games. Despite this, the scheduled game between the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets on Dec. 30 was postponed because Denver did not have the required eight players. 

There have been 11 postponements this season, and the NBA announced makeup dates this week. Here’s a list of the games that were pushed back:

  • Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets (Dec. 30)
  • Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs (Dec. 29)
  • Brooklyn Nets at Portland Trail Blazers (Dec. 23)
  • Toronto Raptors at Chicago Bulls (Dec. 22)
  • Washington Wizards at Brooklyn Nets (Dec. 21)
  • Orlando Magic at Toronto Raptors (Dec. 20)
  • New Orleans Pelicans at Philadelphia 76ers (Dec. 19)
  • Denver Nuggets at Brooklyn Nets (Dec. 19)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks (Dec. 19)
  • Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors (Dec. 16)
  • Detroit Pistons at Chicago Bulls (Dec. 14)

Five head coaches are in health and safety protocols: Mike Budenholzer (Milwaukee Bucks), Nate McMillan (Atlanta Hawks), Tyronn Lue (Los Angeles Clippers), Michael Malone (Denver) and Mark Daigneault (Oklahoma City Thunder).

Seven more coaches — Doc Rivers (Philadelphia), Chauncey Billups (Portland Trail Blazers), Rick Carlisle (Indiana Pacers), Alvin Gentry (Sacramento Kings), Frank Vogel (Los Angeles Lakers), Billy Donovan (Bulls) and Monty Williams (Phoenix Suns) — entered protocols and have since cleared.  

The Raptors played two December home games at 50% capacity and, as of Dec. 31, can allow no more than 1,000 people to enter Scotiabank Arena, per a provincial mandate. The team expects the limit to be in place for the next three weeks, and, as such, are playing in a virtually empty arena.

Below is a regularly updated, team-by-team list of players in health and safety protocols, along with the date (or, in some cases, the approximate date) they entered:

Players in health and safety protocols

Atlanta Hawks

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic (Dec. 28)
  • Gorgui Dieng (Dec. 28)
  • Jalen Johnson (Dec. 26)

Boston Celtics

  • Payton Pritchard (Jan. 5)

Charlotte Hornets

  • Vernon Carey Jr. (Jan. 1)

Chicago Bulls

Cleveland Cavaliers

Dallas Mavericks

  • Kristaps Porzingis (Jan. 3)
  • Isaiah Thomas (Dec. 30)
  • Boban Marjanovic (Dec. 29)
  • JaQuori McLaughlin (Dec. 23)

Denver Nuggets

  • Monte Morris (Dec. 31)
  • Jeff Green (Dec. 30)
  • Zeke Nnaji (Dec. 30)

Houston Rockets

  • Usman Garuba (Jan. 3)
  • Armoni Brooks (Jan. 2)
  • DeJon Jarreau (Dec. 30)

Indiana Pacers

  • Goga Bitadze (Jan. 2)
  • Caris LeVert (Jan. 2)
  • T.J. Warren (Jan. 2)
  • Kelan Martin (Dec. 31)
  • Isaiah Jackson (Dec. 30)

Los Angeles Clippers

  • Luke Kennard (Jan. 1)
  • Ivica Zubac (Dec. 30)

Memphis Grizzlies

  • Kyle Anderson (Jan. 2)
  • Xavier Tillman (Dec. 30)
  • John Konchar (Dec. 28)
  • Dillon Brooks (Dec. 26)
  • De’Anthony Melton (Dec. 26)

Miami Heat

  • Marcus Garrett (Dec. 30)
  • Duncan Robinson (Dec. 30)
  • Gabe Vincent (Dec. 29)
  • Udonis Haslem (Dec. 28)

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Grayson Allen (Jan. 4)
  • Pat Connaughton (Jan. 4)
  • Jordan Nwora (Jan. 3)
  • Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Jan. 1)
  • Semi Ojeleye (Dec. 30)

New Orleans Pelicans

  • Tomas Satoransky (Jan. 2)

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Dec. 27)

Orlando Magic

  • Markelle Fultz (Jan. 1)
  • Robin Lopez (Dec. 30)

Philadelphia 76ers

  • Paul Reed (Jan. 4)
  • Tyrese Maxey (Jan. 3)
  • Matisse Thybulle (Jan. 3)
  • Jaden Springer (Jan. 2)
  • Myles Powell (Dec. 30)

Phoenix Suns

  • Landry Shamet (Jan. 4)
  • JaVale McGee (Dec. 30)
  • Abdel Nader (Dec. 29)
  • Deandre Ayton (Dec. 27)
  • Jae Crowder (Dec. 26)

Portland Trail Blazers

  • Larry Nance Jr. (Jan. 4)
  • Cody Zeller (Dec. 26)

Sacramento Kings

  • Chimezie Metu (Jan. 4)
  • Richaun Holmes (Jan. 1)

San Antonio Spurs

  • Doug McDermott (Jan. 1)
  • Lonnie Walker (Jan. 1)
  • Devontae Cacok (Dec. 29)

Toronto Raptors

  • Svi Mykhailiuk (Jan. 4)
  • Yuta Watanabe (Jan. 4)

Utah Jazz

Washington Wizards

  • Tremont Waters (Jan. 3)
  • Anthony Gill (Jan. 2)
  • Brad Wanamaker (Dec. 31)
  • Rui Hachimura (Dec. 28)
  • Montrezl Harrell (Dec. 28)

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