Rosters around the NBA were thrown into disarray in December and January as most teams experienced outbreaks of COVID-19. However, Booker is the first player to be placed in the league’s health and safety protocols since the All-Star break. Wizards center Daniel Gafford, the last player in the protocols, was cleared on February 13.
Hopefully, if Booker contracted the virus, it’s an isolated incident rather than the beginning of another league-wide increase in cases. The NBA hasn’t mandated daily coronavirus tests for the last few weeks, requiring players to get tested only if they’re unvaccinated, they’re a close contact of someone who tests positive, or they experience COVID-19 symptoms.
Assuming Booker did test positive, he’ll be out for at least five days or until he returns two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart. A best-case scenario for Phoenix would be that Booker registered a false positive and is able to exit the protocols within the next day or two.
The Suns are already missing Chris Paul (thumb), so they’ll be without both of their backcourt stars when they face the Trail Blazers tonight. However, it appears Cameron Payne (wrist) should be available to play for the first time since January 22 — he’s listed as probable on Phoenix’s injury report.