Los Angeles Lakers guards Russell Westbrook and Avery Bradley have entered health and safety protocols, according to multiple reports. The pair are the latest Lakers to enter protocols with Dwight Howard, Talen Horton-Tucker and multiple other staffers all doing so earlier in the week during the lead up to — and during — the team’s ongoing three-game road trip.
Lakers guard Russell Westbrook has entered into Covid protocols, sources tell @mcten and me.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 16, 2021
Sources: Lakers guard Russell Westbrook entered health and safety protocols.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 16, 2021
Lakers guard Avery Bradley has entered into Covid protocols, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 16, 2021
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, neither Westbrook nor Bradley traveled with the team from Dallas to Minnesota following Wednesday’s game, which both participated in after testing negative prior to the game.
Bradley and Westbrook did not accompany the Lakers on their team flight from Dallas to Minneapolis on Thursday, sources told ESPN. https://t.co/Oeuzli28FZ— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 16, 2021
The team underwent extra testing on Tuesday after Horton-Tucker initially entered protocols, eventually leading to Howard, Monk, assistant coach Phil Handy and Lakers play-by-play broadcaster Bill Macdonald entering protocols as well. Monk, however, tested out of the protocols on Thursday night, and will be allowed to rejoin the team.
The league’s protocols are such that only unvaccinated players are placed into health and safety protocols for close contact with a person who tests positive. For vaccinated players, a stint in health and safety protocols comes only after a positive test themselves. Prior to the season, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said the team is fully vaccinated.
The reports of Westbrook and Bradley entering protocols were preceded by the report of the Lakers signing Isaiah Thomas to a 10-day contract via hardship waiver, and it’s hard not to believe the two stories are connected.
Westbrook and Bradley’s stints in health and safety protocols will last either 10 days or until they are able to return two negative PCR tests 24 hours apart. Over the next 10 days, the Lakers have five games, beginning with the Timberwolves on Friday before the Bulls on Sunday, Dec. 19, the Suns on Tuesday, Dec. 21, the Spurs on Dec. 23 and the Nets on Christmas Day.
If their stints in protocols are for the full 10 days, the first game the two could return would be Tuesday, Dec. 28 in Houston.
After Monk tested out of the protocols, there are now six Lakers currently unavailable for various reasons:
- Russell Westbrook (health and safety protocols)
- Avery Bradley (health and safety protocols)
- Dwight Howard (health and safety protocols)
- Talen Horton-Tucker (health and safety protocols)
- Kendrick Nunn (bone bruise)
- Trevor Ariza (ankle surgery)
That leaves only nine members on the full-time roster available, not including Thomas or the team’s pair of two-way players:
- Austin Reaves, guard
- Malik Monk, guard
- Wayne Ellington, guard
- Kent Bazemore, guard
- Rajon Rondo, guard
- LeBron James, forward
- Carmelo Anthony, forward
- Anthony Davis, forward/center
- DeAndre Jordan, center
The league minimum required to play a game is eight players, which further explains the necessity of signing Thomas for the next 10 days.
Across the league, positive cases are rising at a staggering rate. Including Westbrook and Bradley’s positives, 63 NBA players have now entered protocols this season with 47 of those coming in December alone. That does not include Rick Carlisle or Alvin Gentry, head coaches for the Pacers and Kings, respectively, and Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri.
This breaking news story may update with more information as it continues to develop.