Nuggets’ Austin Rivers, Bones Hyland Enter Protocols

3:41pm: Hyland hasn’t tested positive for COVID-19 and is in the protocols because he was a close contact of someone who did, tweets Singer. Hyland remains out for the short term, but his absence likely won’t last as long as Rivers’ unless his situation changes.

9:46am: Hyland has also entered the health and safety protocols and – like Rivers – is expected to miss several games, tweets Singer. According to Singer, the belief is that no other Nuggets players will have to join Rivers and Hyland in the protocols.

With Rivers and Hyland sidelined, Monte Morris, Campazzo, and Will Barton figure to play increased roles, with Howard a candidate to enter the regular rotation.

9:04am: Nuggets guard Austin Rivers is the latest NBA player to enter the league’s health and safety protocols and is expected to miss several games, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Although Charania’s report doesn’t confirm whether Rivers has contracted COVID-19, a player who enters the protocols and is immediately ruled out for “several” games has generally tested positive for the coronavirus.

Rivers, 29, has played a regular role off the bench for Denver so far this season, averaging 17.4 minutes per contest in 18 games (three starts). He has put up career-worst numbers of 3.9 PPG on .346/.271/.500 in the early going.

Despite Rivers’ struggles, it’s bad news for the Nuggets that they’ll lose yet another piece of their rotation. Denver got a boost earlier in the week when Nikola Jokic and Bones Hyland returned to action, as Mike Singer of The Denver Post writes, but the team is still missing Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., and PJ Dozier due to long-term injuries. JaMychal Green is day-to-day with an elbow issue.

If Rivers has tested positive for COVID-19, he’ll remain sidelined for at least 10 days, or until he returns consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart. The Nuggets may lean more on Facundo Campazzo and Hyland in Rivers’ absence, with two-way player Markus Howard also a candidate to earn minutes.

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