NBA COVID tracker: Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell enter protocols as Wolves’ number rises to eight

More than 90 players are currently in the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, and the uptick in cases has led to several postponed games this month. The number has moved to nine after the league postponed the game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Portland Trail Blazers, originally scheduled for Thursday, and the game between the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors, originally scheduled for Wednesday. Brooklyn and Toronto are both dealing with outbreaks, and, even with reinforcements on 10-day contracts, couldn’t reach the league-mandated minimum of eight available players.

In an attempt to limit postponements, the league and the National Basketball Players Association have reportedly agreed to new rules about signing replacement players, and the two sides have also agreed to temporarily tighter protocols that call for more testing and stricter mask requirements from Dec. 26 to Jan. 8, according to ESPN and The Athletic.

On Thursday, Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards were added to the long list of players in protocols, a day after the Mavericks’ Luka Doncic and No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham of the Pistons. D’Angelo Russell joined Towns Saturday, giving the Wolves a total of eight players. 

James Harden is among three Nets who have recently cleared protocols, coach Steve Nash said Thursday. With three more players entering, however, they still have 10 in protocols, including stars Kevin Durant and the unvaccinated Kyrie Irving, who will rejoin the team when he’s cleared but will not be permitted to play games in New York or Toronto. The Raptors, Celtics and Cavaliers, meanwhile, have eight players in protocols. 

The Bulls had 10 players in protocols before the NBA parked them last week, postponing their games on Dec. 14 and 16. Chicago returned to the court Sunday, the same day the league announced five more postponements, but was out of action again because its opponent, Toronto, was too shorthanded to play on Wednesday. Bulls coach Billy Donovan said Thursday that all of their players in protocols have been cleared to return.

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Postponed games in 2021-22 season

The NBA and the NBPA are reportedly near an agreement that would allow some (asymptomatic, non-infectious) players to clear protocols as soon as six days after they test positive. Under the current protocols, if any player tests positive for COVID-19, he must immediately isolate until 10 days have passed from that test or the onset of symptoms, or until he tests negative on two PCR tests 24 hours apart. 

Players who are not fully vaccinated must enter health and safety protocols if they are found to be a close contact of a person who has tested positive. Since Dec. 17, players who have not received a booster shot have been subject to tighter restrictions, including game-day testing. 

Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel. Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle and Kings coach Alvin Gentry are all in protocols. Raptors president Masai Ujiri entered protocols on Dec. 9.

Toronto announced on Dec. 15 that it would play its home games at 50 percent capacity, and this policy took effect on Dec. 18 against the Golden State Warriors. No other NBA team has taken such a measure this season. 

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

Players in health and safety protocols

Atlanta Hawks

Wes Iwundu (Dec. 24)Kevin Huerter (Dec. 22)Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (Dec. 22)Lou Williams (Dec. 22)Danilo Gallinari (Dec. 21)
Trae Young (Dec. 19)

Boston Celtics

Bruno Fernando (Dec. 24)Justin Jackson (Dec. 24)CJ Miles (Dec. 24)Aaron Nesmith (Dec. 24)Enes Kanter Freedom (Dec. 23)Josh Richardson (Dec. 19)Brodric Thomas (Dec. 18)Sam Hauser (Dec. 17)
Al Horford (Dec. 17)Grant Williams (Dec. 17)Juancho Hernangomez (Dec. 17)
Jabari Parker (Dec. 16)

Brooklyn Nets

Kessler Edwards (Dec. 23)Cam Thomas (Dec. 23)David Duke Jr. (Dec. 23)Kevin Durant (Dec. 18)Kyrie Irving (Dec. 18)Day’Ron Sharpe (Dec. 18)LaMarcus Aldridge (Dec. 14)
DeAndre’ Bembry (Dec. 14)
Bruce Brown (Dec. 14)James Johnson (Dec. 14)

Charlotte Hornets

Cleveland Cavaliers

Ed Davis (Dec. 21)Jarrett Allen (Dec. 19)RJ Nembhard (Dec. 19)
Lamar Stevens (Dec. 19) Denzel Valentine (Dec. 19) Dylan Windler (Dec. 19) Evan Mobley (Dec. 18)
Isaac Okoro (Dec. 16)

Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic (Dec. 22)Trey Burke (Dec. 22)Tim Hardaway Jr. (Dec. 21)Maxi Kleber (Dec. 20)Josh Green (Dec. 19)Reggie Bullock (Dec. 18)

Denver Nuggets

Bol Bol (Dec. 17)
Michael Porter Jr. (Dec. 17)

Detroit Pistons

Killian Hayes (Dec. 23)Saben Lee (Dec. 23)Rodney McGruder (Dec. 23)Isaiah Stewart (Dec. 23)Cade Cunningham (Dec. 22)

Golden State Warriors

Damion Lee (Dec. 22)Andrew Wiggins (Dec. 19)
Jordan Poole (Dec. 17)

Los Angeles Clippers

Reggie Jackson (Dec. 22)Marcus Morris Sr. (Dec. 18)

Los Angeles Lakers

Trevor Ariza (Dec. 23)Kent Bazemore (Dec. 19)Austin Reaves (Dec. 17)Avery Bradley (Dec. 16)
Malik Monk (Dec. 14; cleared on Dec. 16 but reentered protocols on Dec. 17)

Memphis Grizzlies

Jarrett Culver (Dec. 23)Ziaire Williams (Dec. 19)

Miami Heat

Milwaukee Bucks

JaQuori McLaughlin (Dec. 23) Bobby Portis (Dec. 16)

Minnesota Timberwolves

D’Angelo Russell (Dec. 25)Karl-Anthony Towns (Dec. 23)McKinley Wright IV (Dec. 23)Patrick Beverley (Dec. 20)Jarred Vanderbilt (Dec. 20)Josh Okogie (Dec. 19)
Anthony Edwards (Dec. 17)Taurean Prince (Dec. 17)

New Orleans Pelicans

Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Dec. 23)Naji Marshall (Dec. 23)

New York Knicks

Nerlens Noel (Dec. 22)Miles McBride (Dec. 18)Immanuel Quickley (Dec. 17)Kevin Knox II (Dec. 16)

Orlando Magic

Mychal Mulder (Dec. 22)Mo Bamba (Dec. 17)Terrence Ross (Dec. 17)
Moe Wagner (Dec. 17)Ignas Brazdeikis (Dec. 16)

Philadelphia 76ers

Danny Green (Dec. 22)Andre Drummond (Dec. 19)Shake Milton (Dec. 19) Georges Niang (Dec. 15)

Portland Trail Blazers

Robert Covington (Dec. 25)Ben McLemore (Dec. 25) Keljin Blevins (Dec. 25) Dennis Smith Jr. (Dec. 24)Trendon Watford (Dec. 24)

Sacramento Kings

Neemias Queta (Dec. 21)
Davion Mitchell (Dec. 17)
De’Aaron Fox (Dec. 16)Louis King (Dec. 16)   
Alex Len (Dec. 16)Marvin Bagley III (Dec. 15)Terence Davis (Dec. 15)

Toronto Raptors

OG Anunoby (Dec. 22)Fred VanVleet (Dec. 21)Precious Achiuwa (Dec. 21)Scottie Barnes (Dec. 21)Malachi Flynn  (Dec. 21)
Gary Trent Jr. (Dec. 20)Dalano Banton (Dec. 18)Pascal Siakam (Dec. 18)

Washington Wizards

Bradley Beal (Dec. 23)Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Dec. 21)


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