The Charlotte Hornets placed four players into health and safety protocols on Saturday morning. LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Jalen McDaniels and Mason Plumlee are in Covid-19 protocols and we’re awaiting word on whether or not they tested positive. If so, the four would need to quarantine for up to 10 days and could miss more time. If any of the four tested negative or was a close contact, they could avoid an extended absence.
Update, Dec. 14 — Ball has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game against the Spurs despite being cleared from health and safety protocols. The Hornets will likely want to make sure the guard is fit enough to take the court before sending him back out there.
Update, Dec. 7 — The Hornets will remain without Ball and Rozier for their rematch with the Sixers on Wednesday night. McDaniels and Plumlee will also be out. That means we get another game in which the Hornets are shorthanded and will have to lean on Oubre and Bridges. They’ve played a ton of minutes lately, so this may be a tough spot to trust the Hornets. As a result, we could see more James Bouknight and PJ Washington off the bench. Nick Richards may need to play more than 20-25 minutes at center as well.
Update, Dec. 6 — The Hornets ran a seven-man rotation against the Sixers on Monday with Ball, Rozier, Plumlee and McDaniels still out. Four players played 40+ minutes, including Kelly Oubre Jr., who scored 35 points. The Hornets somehow got a win in their previous game against the Hawks despite missing all those guys. Seems they’re still riding the high despite losing to the Sixers in OT. Miles Bridges had 32 points the other night in 40+ minutes. This could become an issue later on in the season if some of the healthy players on the team are forced to play big minutes for another week or so.
The Hornets sent players home from practice facilities in fear that more players have tested positive, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. If that is the case, then Charlotte could be playing Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks very shorthanded. We haven’t had a game postponed due to Covid-19 so far this season. If the Hornets can’t field a competitive team we could see that happen.
If the players have tested positive, then they’ll need to isolate for 10 days. If multiple negative tests are returned without 24 hours, the player can clear protocols. We saw LeBron James clear protocols to return after just a few days after multiple negative tests. Perhaps we could see that with Ball. The Hornets need at least 8 players to be active to field a team for Sunday vs. ATL.