The NBA’s issues with the COVID-19 pandemic continued Tuesday.
Here’s the latest across the league.
7 Nets players land in protocols
Seven Nets players are now in health and safety protocols, the team said Tuesday morning, which makes Brooklyn the third organization with a significant outbreak across the league.
Though the Nets are extremely limited, Kevin Durant was cleared to play against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night after battling right ankle soreness — which officially gave them eight available players, the league minimum.
The Nets’ outbreak comes more than a week after they played the Chicago Bulls, who had 10 players land on the list and two games postponed this week due to their own outbreak. Chicago’s outbreak came after a game against the Charlotte Hornets, who also lost five players to protocols.
The Nets are scheduled take on the Raptors on Tuesday before Thursday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers. They’ll then host a back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday with the Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets, respectively. It’s unclear how long any of their seven players will be out.
Lakers cancel practice after Talen Horton-Tucker tests positive
Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker tested positive for the coronavirus Tuesday and entered the league’s health and safety protocols, the team said.
As a result, the Lakers canceled practice Tuesday and directed all players and staff to take both a rapid test and a PCR test, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. Once players returned a negative test, they were then told to meet at the airport for their trip to Dallas for Wednesday’s game against the Mavericks.
Horton-Tucker has averaged a career-high 11.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game this season, his third in the league. It’s unclear how long the 21-year-old will be sidelined.
Later on Tuesday night, the Lakers announced that Dwight Howard and Malik Monk had joined Horton-Tucker in protocols.
The Lakers announce Dwight Howard and Malik Monk have also entered the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols and won’t play tomorrow against Dallas.
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) December 15, 2021
The Lakers are set to kick off a three-game road trip, with the team playing in Minnesota on Friday and then Chicago on Sunday after Wednesday’s game in Dallas.
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo entered health and safety protocols on Tuesday night, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Wes Matthews and Dante DiVincenzo followed Antetokounmpo into protocols soon after.
Antetokounmpo has been ruled out of their game on Wednesday against the Indiana Pacers. It’s unclear how long he will be sidelined. DiVincenzo was set to return for the first time Wednesday after offseason ankle surgery.
Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo has entered health and safety protcols and is out vs. Indiana on Wednesday.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 15, 2021
Antetokounmpo has averaged 27 points and 11.6 rebounds so far this season, his ninth with the Bucks. After the Pacers, Milwaukee is set to take on the Pelicans on Friday before hosting the Cavaliers on Saturday.
Other COVID issues in sports
The NBA is far from alone in dealing with new outbreaks.
The NFL on Monday hit a new high when 36 players and one staff member tested positive in a single day. The staff member reportedly tested positive for the Omicron variant, too, which marked the first known case of that variant in the league.
The NFL officially told teams Monday that Tier 1 and 2 staff members must receive their booster shots by Dec. 27. As of Tuesday, about 100 players were on the league’s COVID list.
The NHL has more than 30 players in its COVID protocols as of Tuesday afternoon, and both the Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames postponed games in the last two days.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the United States is averaging more than 120,000 new cases of the coronavirus each day — which is nearly a 50% increase over the past two weeks, according to The New York Times. About 70% of Americans age 12 and up are considered fully vaccinated.