Multiple Indiana Pacers Players Enter Health And Safety Protocols, Replacement Players Signed
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – OCTOBER 23: Malcolm Brogdon # 7 and Chris Duarte # 3 of the Indiana Pacers … [+] react in the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on October 23, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Dylan Buell / Getty Images)
Five Indiana Pacers players have adhered to the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols in the past few days.
Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle shared that guard Jeremy Lamb had tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before his team faced the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday. “He got into the health and safety protocols,” Carlisle said of Lamb about an hour and a half before the game. Carlisle found out he would have been without the shooting guard on the bench earlier that day.
The following Thursday, Indiana announced that three other players were entering the health and safety protocols: Malcolm Brogdon, Isaiah Jackson and Chris Duarte. None of them were present at training that day.
“We are obviously talking about staying disguised and being safe and doing everything we can to protect each other and protect our families, their families,” Carlisle said during the aforementioned practice. The coach wasted time earlier this season in health and safety protocols. “Day by day, we must all be light and hope for the best.”
How long each of those players will be away from the team is not perfectly clear. The NBA recently reduced the isolation time requirement for players in health and safety protocols to a minimum of six days, but this is conditional on the player being asymptomatic and returning multiple negative COVID-19 tests. ESPN reported that that number could change again and be reduced to five days. Without knowing the status of each individual’s symptoms, it is not possible to pinpoint the exact return dates, but the beginning of next week would be the first day many of these players could return.
Carlisle explained that Pacers assistant manager Mike Weinar returned from his COVID-related absence after just six days earlier this month, so the timing was met within the organization before these players entered the protocols. health and safety.
“The ten days go by strangely slow and strangely fast,” explained Carlisle. He got into the protocols before the NBA changed the minimum number of isolation days from ten to six.
As of Thursday’s training, Carlisle still hadn’t spoken to the three new players who had entered the health and safety protocols. Justin Holiday, who spent ten days in the protocols after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, shared some notes on his experiences.
“The only thing I told them is that I was just bored,” Holiday said. He pointed out that being away from the team and watching games from home allowed him to look in the mirror and see things about the Pacers from a new perspective. “At the end of the day, we don’t want them to be away that long, and they don’t want to.”
Less than 24 hours after training ended, Carlisle rejoiced that Pacers forward Kelan Martin tested positive for COVID-19 and would also enter health and safety protocols. This meant that a third of the Pacers roster with standard contracts had to be away from the team. If asymptomatic, Martin can return in the middle of next week.
The NBA doesn’t want games to be postponed because a team doesn’t have enough players available to field a team. As a result, they are requiring franchises with more than one player in health and safety protocols to sign replacement players with 10-day difficulty exception contracts. Once two players on a team enter the protocols, the team must sign a substitute and each time a new player enters the protocols, a new substitute player must be signed.
Since the Pacers have five players in health and safety protocols, they must add at least four replacement players. Thursday they took the first steps to do so by bringing Nate Hinton to the team.
Hinton spent time with the Pacers during training camp and in the preseason, where he appeared in three games for the blues and golds. Last season, he played for Carlisle as a member of the Dallas Mavericks.
Indiana Pacers guard Nate Hinton (14) in action as the Indiana Pacers played against the Cleveland Cavaliers … [+] in an NBA preseason basketball game in Indianapolis on Friday, October 15, 2021. (AP Photo / AJ Mast)
“I love him,” Carlisle said of the guard. “I think he is one of the best competitors I have ever seen for a young player in this league, and this is a great opportunity for him.”
Hinton’s teammates are happy to have him back with the group. “Okay,” striker Martin said of Hinton’s presence, who scored three points in 23 minutes for the Pacers in the preseason. “It has a lot of energy. He is a good player, he can shoot. He’s a good defender, he knows the coaching staff … he’s a good piece for us, “added Martin.
“It was a great little opportunity, so due to the circumstances, I’m just grateful for this opportunity,” shared Hinton. He’s been training in Indianapolis since the G League showcase ended. He played for the Pacers G League subsidiary, Fort Wayne Mad Ants, this season.
The following day, the Pacers added another replacement player by signing Ahmad Caver with a 10-day deal. The 25-year-old guard has been in the Memphis Grizzlies organization for the past few years and the Pacers need him for the depth of the perimeter.
Indiana has yet to involve at least two other struggling players. “We are continuing to fill the roster,” Carlisle said on Friday. “I’m not sure how much more information I can give you right now.”
The Pacers may not need any of their replacement players in real life games. They had played without Brogdon and Lamb due to other injuries before entering the two protocols, and Jackson was not in Carlisle’s rotation all season. Duarte and Martin minutes will need to be replaced, but two-way guard Duane Washington recently received playing time for the blue and gold, so he’ll be a candidate to complete the rotation before any of the new guys see the floor. Washington will leave for the Pacers on Friday.
But having extra bodies, especially during a time when each NBA team’s roster situation is extremely fluid, is helpful. The Pacers are the perfect example of this, with new players entering health and safety protocols on three consecutive days. The team will have to continue to monitor this situation moving forward both to field a roster and to respect the rules of the championship.
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