Talen Horton-Tucker already tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning, but despite the Lakers canceling their previously scheduled practice shortly thereafter, he’s not going to be the only player on the team that is put into isolation. On Tuesday evening, the Lakers announced that Malik Monk and Dwight Howard would also miss Wednesday’s game vs. the Dallas Mavericks after being put into the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Monk, at the very least, we know had traveled to Dallas with the team, as the Lakers posted a photo of him getting off the team plane when they landed.
Howard did not travel with the Lakers — and, obviously, neither did Horton-Tucker — and the team is working on arranging travel to send Monk back to Los Angeles to isolate.
Howard and Horton-Tucker did not travel with the team to Dallas.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 15, 2021
Monk was on the flight, however. The Lakers are making arrangements to get him back to Los Angeles safely. https://t.co/yk0r6XWbcp
On Wednesday, the Lakers also announced that assistant coach Phil Handy had also entered health and safety protocols as did Bill Macdonald, Spectrum’s play-by-play broadcaster for the Lakers games.
Can confirm @DanWoikeSports report that Bill Macdonald is not calling the game tonight after entering protocols. Phil Handy, assistant, is also in the protocols.— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) December 15, 2021
It is currently unknown if positive tests or close contact led to any of Monk, Howard, Handy or Macdonald — all part of the Lakers traveling party — being placed into the protocols. The Lakers — just like other NBA teams — normally do not specify in these situations, leaving it up to the players if they want to reveal themselves if they tested positive or not.
However, the league’s protocols dictate that only unvaccinated players can be placed into isolation for close contacts with someone who tests positive, and that vaccinated players can only be sidelined for positive tests. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka previously said that the entire roster would be vaccinated by opening night of the 2021-22 season.
The Lakers will not be doing a shootaround in Dallas on Wednesday, presumably to avoid the risk of further spread as they continue to test.
With Howard, Monk and Horton-Tucker sidelined, and Anthony Davis still questionable to play with knee soreness that has caused him to miss the last two games, the Lakers could be down to as few as 11 players against the Mavericks on Wednesday.
This developing story may be updated with more information.