Pacers' Rick Carlisle to Miss Multiple Games After Testing Positive for COVID-19

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 10, 2021

Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle argues a call during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle is set to miss some time after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Pacers announced Carlisle will miss "multiple games" with assistant and former Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce filling in as the interim head coach during his absence.

Carlisle's first game missed will be Friday against the Dallas Mavericks, which is the team Carlisle coached for 13 seasons before getting hired by Indiana during the offseason.

The fully vaccinated Carlisle tested positive for COVID-19 while coaching the Mavs in April and missed one game as a result, but it was later deemed to be a false positive.

Indiana has gotten off to a sluggish start this season, as its 11-16 record leaves it 13th in the Eastern Conference ahead of only the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons.

As a result, Shams Charania and Bob Kravitz of The Athletic reported this week that the Pacers are "moving toward a rebuild" and open to fielding trade offers for guard Caris LeVert and one of Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis.

The Pacers' play this season has been made all the more disappointing by the fact that Carlisle has enjoyed so much success during his career.

In 20 seasons as an NBA head coach with the Pistons, Pacers and Mavericks, the 62-year-old Carlisle is 847-705.

He has taken his teams to the playoffs on 14 occasions and led the Mavs to the only NBA championship in franchise history in 2011.

Carlisle's temporary replacement, Pierce, has a far less impressive track record as a head coach.

In parts of three seasons with the Hawks, Pierce went just 63-120. He was fired after a 14-20 start last season and replaced by Nate McMillan, who took the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Pierce has extensive experience as an assistant, though, coaching with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers before joining the Pacers this season.