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Bucks’ COVID Woes Escalate as Donte DiVincenzo Enters Health & Safety Protocols

His season debut will have to wait

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks-Media Day Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

On the heels of tonight’s news that Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, The Athletic’s Shams Charania is now reporting that guard Donte DiVincenzo is following suit:

The two join veteran wing Wesley Matthews in the protocols and with Khris Middleton day-to-day with a knee hyperextension, the Milwaukee roster has thinned quite a bit ahead of tomorrow’s matchup with the Pacers.

Unfortunately, the Bucks are hardly alone in this matter. Many teams are dealing with missing players in the protocols right now, most notably the Bulls, who had two games postponed. Today nearly a dozen names joined the growing list, including Nets star James Harden. We’ve likely not seen the last of this current outbreak either; I’d be surprised if we get fewer names tomorrow.

In many cases, a player who enters these protocols faces at least a 10-day absence until—or unless—he tests negative in two consecutive tests at least 24 hours apart. At that point, he may exit the protocols and rejoin the team. Earlier this month, LeBron James exited the protocols in just two days after a series of tests with conflicting results once he was able to meet the 24-hour stipulation.

That means we’re just in wait-and-see mode with tonight's news, crossing our fingers that additional testing clears the two Bucks. It seems likely that Matthews will be out into next week since he’s spent two days in the protocols already.

DiVincenzo spent these last six months recovering from offseason ankle surgery, brought on by an injury in May’s first-round sweep of Miami. He practiced a few times with the Herd and Charania reported he was set to make his season debut tomorrow evening. That will have to wait for at least another game.

These reports do not necessarily mean that Giannis and DiVincenzo actually have COVID-19, but it does generally mean that they produced either an inconclusive or positive test. If it’s the former, either could return in a matter of days as long as they test negative twice. If it’s the latter, it could be a false positive as was the case with LeBron earlier this month. Either way, though, here’s wishing DiVincenzo and Giannis a speedy recovery.