It seems that the question is no longer “if,” but “when?” The subject, of course, is how many members of the Milwaukee Bucks roster will enter the league’s health and safety protocols, as we learned this afternoon that Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton will be unavailable for tomorrow’s game against Toronto.
Bucks injury report for Wednesday's game against the Raptors:— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) January 4, 2022
Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton - OUT (health and safety protocols)
Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Jordan Nwora, Semi Ojeleye - Questionable (health and safety protocols)
The Bucks have already dealt with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Bobby Portis, Wes Matthews, and Donte DiVincenzo getting put into the protocols, and it seems that the league’s new streamlined (read: shorter) rules about the length of absences means that Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Jordan Nwora, and Semi Ojeleye might return to the bench. Provided that everyone is asymptomatic and able to test negative (assuming that negative tests also mean that transmission to others is not expected), this is a silver lining as Allen and Connaughton might be able to return after missing only a game or two.
If only there were a way to guarantee that there would be minimal missed time! Connaughton dealt with COVID-19 way back in July 2020, when the Orlando bubble was getting underway and he reportedly dealt with moderate symptoms. Who knows if he’ll do so again, especially as he’s performed as well as he ever has in a Milwaukee uniform. Ditto for Grayson Allen, a savvy offseason pickup who’s already been extended by the team. Here’s hoping both of them make a swift recovery.
Which Bucks haven’t dealt with COVID yet? To wit, three names stand out as having not missed any time due to the health and safety protocols: Rodney Hood, George Hill, and DeMarcus Cousins. How long will it take for one (or all) of them to test positive? Of course we hope it doesn’t happen, but that seems unrealistic in the current environment. Mask up, y’all.
In the immediate basketball future, the Toronto Raptors are relatively whole, as far as the coronavirus is concerned. Only missing from the team due to the protocols (as of this moment) are Yuta Watanabe and Svi Mykhailiuk, meaning we should see all of Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet tomorrow. Here’s hoping the Bucks can avoid entering a losing streak while they hold down the fort and await the return of players held up by the league’s health and safety protocols.