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- American basketball coach
Two more coaches have entered the NBA's health and safety protocols on Monday, joining two others currently there.
Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams will miss Monday night's game against the Memphis Grizzlies, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported. And Portland Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups has also entered protocols, per Wojnarowski.
They join two peers currently in the protocols as of early Monday afternoon. Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel entered protocols last week and Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan entered them on Friday. Three of seven games scheduled for Monday night will have an acting coach on the sideline while a head coach is in health and safety protocols.
Sacramento Kings acting coach Alvin Gentry and Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle spent time in the health and safety protocols and are back with their teams.
Suns, Trail Blazers coaches out
Suns associate head coach Kevin Young, who joined the franchise ahead of the 2020 season, will likely serve as acting coach, per Wojnarowski. Phoenix (26-6) hosts Oklahoma City on Wednesday before a three-game road trip to Boston (Friday), Charlotte (Sunday) and New Orleans (Tuesday, Jan. 4).
The Trail Blazers (13-19) had their game against the Brooklyn Nets postponed ahead of Christmas due to an outbreak with the Nets. They host the Mavericks on Monday and Jazz on Wednesday before heading to Los Angeles to face the Lakers on Friday. Assistant Scott Brooks will likely serve as acting head coach, per Wojnarowski.
COVID-19 cases in NBA
The number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise as the Omicron variant spreads and the NBA has experienced a similar spike with its players, coaches and staff. The league has ramped up testing beginning the day after Christmas and is requiring players and staff to wear masks more often.
After the latest league report, I now have recorded over 200 individual data entry points for COVID-related incidences in the NBA this season. They make up roughly 20 percent of my collected injury info on the year.
— Jeff Stotts (@InStreetClothes) December 26, 2021
The NBA is requiring all teams to host a booster event by Dec. 31 made available to players, staff and their families. A booster dose of the vaccine helps maximize protection against contracting the coronavirus and against suffering more severe symptoms of the virus.
Currently, vaccinated players who test positive are required to quarantine for 10 days or provide two negative tests taken at least 24 hours apart.
Approximately 97% of the league is vaccinated, a higher rate than the U.S. population at large, and about 65% of eligible players have received boosters. Commissioner Adam Silver said last week there are no plans to stop or pause the season. The NHL, which has teams in Canada, paused games for a few days over Christmas.