Bucks guard Jrue Holiday was a late scratch on Monday night, having entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols shortly before the team’s game against Denver tipped off. While Holiday’s status going forward remains up in the air, the Bucks indicated after Monday’s contest that he wouldn’t be traveling with the club to Phoenix for Wednesday’s game vs. the Suns, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic.
A player generally enters the league’s health and safety protocols if someone he has been in contact with tests positive for the virus or if he returns a positive or inconclusive test himself. As Nehm observes, Khris Middleton‘s comments about Holiday after the game suggest this may be a case of the latter.
“Once he tested positive, you immediately think about his health, his safety and then his family back home,” Middleton said of his teammate. “He has little kids too that he has to worry about. So, I think that was a huge part of what was going through my mind before the game. Just thinking about him and his family back home.
“Hopefully, the test may come back negative a couple more times and then it’s just a false positive. Right now, I think that’s the best-case scenario, but I’m sure he’ll be fine no matter what though.”
If Holiday did return a positive test, it’s entirely possible – as Middleton points out – that it could have been a false positive. If that’s the case, registering two negative tests should allow Holiday to be cleared, perhaps even in time for Wednesday’s game.
However, if Middleton is right that Holiday tested positive and that test is ultimately confirmed, the Bucks would be without their starting point guard for at least the next couple weeks or so and could have one or more of their other players tied up in a contact-tracing investigation.
As Nehm notes, the Bucks haven’t run into any major coronavirus-related issues so far this season. Milwaukee’s game on January 22 vs. Washington was postponed, but that was due to several COVID-19 cases among the Wizards. The hope is that Holiday’s time in the league’s health and safety protocols will be brief and won’t affect any of his teammates, but we’ll have to wait for further updates for more clarity.