The Milwaukee Bucks will have to make do against the Indiana Pacers without Giannis Antetokounmpo as the reigning MVP joined the ever-growing list of players and coaches entered into COVID health and safety protocols Wednesday.
Antetokounmpo is currently one of 28 players not expected to play.
James Harden became the sixth Brooklyn Net to enter COVID health and safety protocols Tuesday night, quickly followed by teammate Bruce Brown.
The Nets made the announcement just an hour before tip-off of their 131-129 win over Toronto; a game coach SteveNash said they weren’t even sure they were going to play, per ESPN.
“We had to debate it,” coach Nash said. “We had to debate Kevin’s situation. Obviously, we’re talking about a franchise player; we don’t want to risk it. So we’re probably more cautious than he is. But he really wanted to play, and so that was it.”
Durant put in an MVP performance scoring 34 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists.
The win kept Brooklyn in the top spot, two and a half games ahead of the Chicago Bulls, who postponed two games due to their depleted roster.
The Los Angeles Lakers added Dwight Howard and Malik Monk after entering Talen Horton-Tucker to health and safety protocols yesterday and canceling the team’s practice.
Sacramento Kings’ interim coach Alvin Gentry, 67, entered health and safety protocols Wednesday after testing positive for COVID-19 and will be out for the team’s game against the Washington Wizards.
Gentry was asymptomatic except for a scratchy throat, per ESPN.
In the wake of these increased COVID infections, the league has said it will continue to evaluate the situation and act accordingly.
“We will continue to follow the science and data, and will, in close partnership with the players’ association, update our protocols as deemed appropriate by our medical experts,” said NBA spokesperson MikeBass.
More than 800,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19.