Grizzlies' Jonas Valanciunas Enters NBA's COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 18, 2021

The Memphis Grizzlies will be without big man Jonas Valanciunas for Monday's game against the Phoenix Suns.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the center is listed as "out" because he entered the NBA's health and safety protocols that were put in place as the league attempts to play its 2020-21 campaign amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Valanciunas played in Memphis' victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday and finished with nine points and seven rebounds.

The big man is a double-double machine when on the floor and is averaging 14.4 points and 10.4 rebounds in just 26.8 minutes per game.

It is more of the same after he averaged a double-double of 14.9 points and 11.3 rebounds per game in his first full season with the Grizzlies in 2019-20. Valanciunas was also a solid contributor for the Toronto Raptors from 2012-13 until they traded him during the 2018-19 season before they won a title.

Look for Memphis to rely on the combination of Brandon Clarke, Xavier Tillman and Gorgui Dieng in the frontcourt until Valanciunas returns.

The news on Valanciunas comes as the league announced Sunday's game between the 76ers and Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed because Philadelphia does not have the minimum number of eight available players following Saturday's game against Memphis.

Wojnarowski reported the postponement is because of contract tracing with the 76ers after that game.

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It is one of a number of contests that have been postponed as the league attempts to navigate the difficulties of playing inside home markets instead of a bubble during the pandemic.