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Alfonzo McKinnie enters health and safety protocols ahead of game vs. Knicks

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Alfonso McKinnie is the latest member of the Lakers to end up in the health and safety protocols this season.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Alfonzo McKinnie had his best game since joining the Lakers in their upset win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night, but he’s not going to get a chance to see if he can keep his rhythm going. The team updated its injury report on Monday morning, declaring McKinnie out due to the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Dennis Schröder is also now listed as probable. He landed on his back in Saturday’s game and looked a little gimpy before being ejected, so this contusion is likely related to that. The Lakers’ starting point guard is also dealing with an unlisted knee injury.

Here is the full injury report update, courtesy of Mike Trudell of Lakers.com:

Now, we should note here that McKinnie being placed into the protocols does not mean he has the virus. Alex Caruso, Dennis Schröder, Devontae Cacok, Kostas Antetokounmpo and Lakers trainer Nina Hsieh have all been put into the protocols this season, all without testing positive. Of those on the Lakers held out due to the protocols, only Marc Gasol has been confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus. McKinnie could be out for contact tracing, or a positive test, or something else entirely. We just don’t know, and it would be irresponsible to speculate.

With McKinnie out, if Kuzma and Matthews also can’t play, the Lakers are going to be awfully thin on the wing. Expect newcomer Ben McLemore to get all the minutes he can handle while coming off of his strong performance against Brooklyn, and for Talen Horton-Tucker and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to get a boost in playing time as well.

Even if McKinnie, Kuzma, Matthews, Gasol and even Schröder join LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Jared Dudley on the bench, the Lakers should still have enough players to play this game. With Caldwell-Pope, Horton-Tucker, McLemore, Alex Caruso, Andre Drummond, Montrezl Harrell and Markieff Morris in addition to two-way players Devontae Cacok and Kostas Antetokounmpo, they would still have nine eligible players. NBA teams are required to have at least 8 to avoid a forfeit.

Either way, it should be an interesting game for the shorthanded, underdog Lakers against former Baby Laker Julius Randle and his Knicks in New York tonight. Things tip-off at 4:30 p.m. PT.

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