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Pacers coach Rick Carlisle enters health and safety protocols

The Pacers and Raptors canceled practices on Thursday to take caution with a potential Covid-19 outbreak.

Head Coach of Rick Carlisle of the Indiana Pacers looks on during the game against the Washington Wizards on December 6, 2021 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle has been placed in health and safety protocols and will miss several games, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The Pacers are coming off a win over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night. Carlisle will not coach against his former team the Dallas Mavericks when the two teams square off on Friday night.

Update — Carlisle had a PCR test and he is confirmed to have Covid-19. Lloyd Pierce will assume coaching duties with Carlisle out.

The NBA has a real covid problem this season. Players being placed into health and safety protocols keeps piling up. The Pacers’ division rival Chicago Bulls are dealing with over four players in protocols at the moment. The Raptors and Knicks canceled their practices on Thursday morning out of an abundance of caution. The Knicks recently played the Pacers, so there’s a chance a few of their players end up in protocols.

The Pacers have four assistant coaches — Lloyd Pierce, Ronald Nored, Mike Weinar and Jenny Boucek. The most logical person to take over is Pierce, who was coaching the Atlanta Hawks last season before being fired.

This is tough for a franchise already in turmoil. Reports came out earlier this week that the Pacers are open to trading C Myles Turner, PF Domantas Sabonis and G Caris LeVert before the NBA Trade Deadline in a few months. The Pacers are 11-16 and on the outside of the playoff picture in the East through the first quarter and change of the regular season. Now, the team will have to play without Carlisle, who is one of the most respected head coaches in the League.