The Los Angeles Lakers are the latest team to be hit by surging COVID-19 cases across the NBA. The team cancelled practice on Tuesday after a player reportedly tested positive for the virus. While it cannot technically be officially announced by the team, third-year guard Talen Horton-Tucker was listed on the team’s injury report for Wednesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks after being placed in “health and safety protocols,” effectively outing him as the player in question.
Horton-Tucker was coming off a 19-point and six steal performance against the Orlando Magic, a breakout performance after he had been struggling for some time.
THT is the second Lakers player to be placed in the health and safety protocols this season. LeBron James missed a game against the Sacramento Kings earlier in the year before subsequent testing proved that he had only given a false positive case and had not contracted the virus.
Horton-Tucker would have to register consecutive negative tests within 24 hours of his positive result in order for the league to deem it a false positive and allow him to return to the team. Otherwise, he will have to wait at least 10 days before playing again.
A 10-day timetable would see the young guard miss at least games against the Mavs, Timberwolves, Bulls, Suns, and Spurs.
The Lakers face the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. The Mavs will be without star player Luka Doncic as he deals with an ankle injury.
The Lakers canceled practice upon learning of THT’s positive test and have required players to take extra tests before gathering for the team flight to Dallas.
The NBA just postponed two Chicago Bulls games as they deal with a COVID outbreak that has seen numerous players sidelined. The Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets have similarly been hit hard by a surge in cases.
Meanwhile, the Lakers have played against opponents with cases of their own. The Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks was placed in health and safety protocols before their game against the Lakers. The Celtics’ Josh Richardson was forced to quarantine days after playing in a loss to the purple and gold.