The Los Angeles Lakers announced that Dwight Howard and Malik Monk have entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, joining Talen Horton-Tucker, who was placed in them earlier in the day. All three players have been ruled out of Wednesday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks and perhaps longer.
This is obviously rough news for the Lakers, who have been trying to turn their season around after a rough start. They’ve been playing well as of late, with all of Howard, Monk and Horton-Tucker making their respective contributions.
It’s known that Horton-Tucker tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), and now that Howard and Monk have entered the league’s protocols, it’s safe to assume they tested positive as well since the whole team is vaccinated.
None of the players will be eligible to return until they receive two negative PCR tests in a row, which could take up to two weeks.
Howard and Horton-Tucker started the Lakers’ last game, so two players will have to replace them. One could be Anthony Davis, although he’s still listed as questionable with left knee soreness after missing the last two games.
If Davis is unable to go against the Mavericks then DeAndre Jordan would likely be the Lakers’ starting center, while Austin Reaves and Wayne Ellington would be prime candidates to fill out the starting lineup alongside LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Avery Bradley.
It’s also possible that the Lakers turn back more positive tests before the game tips off on Wednesday night, so that will be something to keep an eye on.
Hopefully they were able to keep it at just these three though to avoid an outbreak like so many other teams such as the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets are currently dealing with.
The Lakers also announced that Howard did not travel with the team to Dallas, although Monk did, so they had to arrange a safe way for him to fly home while being isolated.
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