The hits keep coming for the Los Angeles Lakers. On Friday afternoon, Austin Reaves became the latest Lakers player to enter health and safety protocols, hours before the team's scheduled game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.
Reaves joins Malik Monk, Dwight Howard, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Avery Bradley in COVID-19 protocols. Russell Westbrook was in protocols for about 24 hours before being mysteriously cleared earlier on Friday. Monk thought he had been cleared, but that turned out not to be the case.
So far on the road trip, multiple members of the Lakers' traveling party — including assistant coach Phil Handy and announcers Bill Macdonald and Mychal Thompson — entered protocols.
The Reaves news is particularly disturbing because he traveled with the team to Minnesota, unlike the rest of the aforementioned players and staff.
Reaves was the hero of Wednesday's victory against the Dallas Mavericks, sinking a game-winning three-pointer with 0.9 seconds to go in overtime. The undrafted rookie put up 15 points (5-of-6 from 3) and seven rebounds in 32 minutes — career-highs across the board.
At the time of writing, the Lakers have seven regulars available for the Wolves matchup: Westbrook, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Wayne Ellington, Carmelo Anthony, DeAndre Jordan, Kent Bazemore, and Rajon Rondo. Isaiah Thomas — whose 10-day contract via hardship exception was finalized on Friday afternoon — will be active. Two-way players Jay Huff and Chaundee Brown are with the team, too.
Trevor Ariza, who has yet to play this season following ankle surgery, is listed as questionable and will dress, but is not expected to play.
The Lakers' next game is against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday. The tip-off at the United Center has already been pushed back as the Bulls deal with their own massive COVID-19 outbreak.
Los Angeles is 100% vaccinated and encouraging boosters, though it's unknown how many players have received another shot.