Lakers' Dwight Howard, Malik Monk Enter NBA's Health and Safety Protocols

Doric SamDecember 15, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (39) confers with a referee during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

The COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the NBA, and the Los Angeles Lakers are the latest team to be affected by the ongoing pandemic.

The Lakers announced late Tuesday night that center Dwight Howard and guard Malik Monk have entered the league's health and safety protocols. 

Howard and Monk join Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker, who entered health and safety protocols earlier Tuesday. Horton-Tucker returned a positive COVID-19 test and the team was forced to cancel practice.

Monk has been streaky contributor off the bench for Los Angeles. He averages 9.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists. He had a season-high 27 points on Nov. 10 in an overtime win over the Miami Heat. But Monk has struggled as of late, scoring under 10 points and shooting under 30 percent in each of his last three games.

Howard has been relied on mostly for his defense this season. The 18-year veteran has provided the Lakers with solid frontcourt depth, but he's scored in double figures just three times this season in 25 appearances.

The Lakers join the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, and Charlotte Hornets as teams that have seen a recent spike in players entering health and safety protocols.

With three key players now set to be away from the team, Los Angeles (15-13) could be very short-handed for Wednesday's game against the Dallas Mavericks (14-13). Lakers star center Anthony Davis is listed as questionable after missing the last two games with left knee soreness.

Los Angeles will be going for its third consecutive win on Wednesday.