LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, More Hornets in Health Protocols; Likely Out Several Games

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVDecember 4, 2021

CLEVELAND, OHIO - DECEMBER 23: Terry Rozier #3 talks to LaMelo Ball #2 of the Charlotte Hornets during the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on December 23, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Charlotte Hornets announced guards LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier, center Mason Plumlee and forward Jalen McDaniels entered the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols on Saturday.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported at least Ball and Rozier are "expected to miss several games":

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Ball and Rozier are expected to be sidelined for at least 10 days, or unless they record two negative tests in a 24-hour period moving forward, sources said. Charlotte will be without its young star and fellow starting guard for the time being. <a href="https://t.co/6EGuscCDBI">https://t.co/6EGuscCDBI</a>

It's a significant setback for the Hornets, as all four players are part of the team's rotation, with Ball and Rozier among their top three scorers.

Ball has been the driving force beyond the team's success so far this season. He's averaged a team-high 20 points along with 8.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals across 24 games as Charlotte has compiled a 13-11 record in pursuit of its first playoff berth since 2016.

The reigning NBA Rookie of the Year ranks sixth among all players in FiveThirtyEight's WAR metric.

Rozier ranks third on the Hornets in scoring (17.7 PPG) while also averaging 3.6 dimes, 3.5 boards and 1.3 swipes in 19 appearances.

Plumlee (6.8 PPG) and McDaniels (5.5 PPG) are key pieces of the frontcourt rotation.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Hornets sent home the remainder of their staff and players while awaiting further information about the possibility of more positive test results.

Charlotte, which is scheduled to travel Saturday ahead of Sunday's road game against the Atlanta Hawks, tentatively has enough players to satisfy the NBA's minimum of eight to play a game.

A confirmed positive test leads to a mandatory 10-day quarantine based on the league's COVID protocols. For Hornets players, that would result in a minimum absence of five games through a Dec. 13 meeting with the Dallas Mavericks.

The NBA hasn't been forced to postpone any games on its 2021-22 schedule because of coronavirus-related issues so far.

Charlotte last played Wednesday, a 127-125 road loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.