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Rudy Gobert exits league’s health and safety protocols, expected to play Sunday vs. Nuggets

The Jazz center should be back on the court soon.

NBA: Utah Jazz at New Orleans Pelicans Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

January 14 update: Gobert has exited the league’s health and safety protocols and is expected to play Sunday against the Denver Nuggets, assuming his conditioning checks out.

The Utah Jazz have placed center Rudy Gobert in the league’s health and safety protocols, ruling him out for Friday’s game against the Toronto Raptors.

Gobert had previously missed the team’s 115-109 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday over what was then thought of as a non-COVID-19 related illness. Per reporting from The Athletic, he took two negative rapid tests on Wednesday but a PCR test returned positive, forcing him to enter health and safety protocols.

This will of course be a blow for the Jazz to lose a big man the caliber of Gobert. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year was averaging 15.5 points, 15.1 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game. It’s also not lost on anyone that this is a full circle moment as Gobert was the first high-profile athlete to test positive for the virus in March of 2020, setting off a chain of postponements that led to the league shutting down for several months.

Following Friday’s game in Toronto, the Jazz will head to Indiana on Saturday before finishing out their road trip in Detroit on Monday.