Report: Bucks' Mike Budenholzer Enters COVID-19 Protocols; Darvin Ham to Be Acting HC

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 5, 2022

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 18: Mike Budenholzer Head Coach of the Milwaukee Bucks during a timeout in the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Fiserv Forum on December 18, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 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 John Fisher/Getty Images)
John Fisher/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks have reportedly placed head coach Mike Budenholzer in the league's COVID-19 health and safety protocols, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski

He'll reportedly miss the team's Wednesday night game against the Toronto Raptors, with assistant Darvin Ham serving as the interim head coach.

Per NBA writer Marc Stein, Budenholzer is the 12th head coach to go into the protocols this season.

He joins the Indiana Pacers' Rick Carlisle, Sacramento Kings' Alvin Gentry, Los Angeles Lakers' Frank Vogel, Phoenix Suns' Monty Williams, Philadelphia 76ers' Doc Rivers, Denver Nuggets' Mike Malone, Portland Trail Blazers' Chauncey Billups, Oklahoma City Thunder's Mark Daigneault, Chicago Bulls' Billy Donovan, Los Angeles Clippers' Tyronn Lue and the Atlanta Hawks' Nate McMillan as coaches to have been placed in the protocols this season. 

The COVID-19 pandemic and Omicron variant continue to be a major storyline in the current NBA season. In the past three weeks alone, almost 250 players have been placed in the league's protocols, per ESPN's Kevin Felton, while over 100 players have been signed to short-term hardship contracts. 

The league has also had to postpone 11 games this season because of outbreaks on teams, though the new rules allowing for the signing of replacement players has helped mitigate issues surrounding not having enough players available. 

It's now the third straight season the pandemic has interfered with the NBA, following the Orlando bubble in 2020 and last year's 72-game shortened season. 

While the league is scheduled to play a full slate and many arenas are full, the Toronto Raptors will only be able to host 1,000 fans at home games because of new Ontario mandates.

As for the Bucks, the defending champions are 25-14 and currently third in the Eastern Conference behind the Chicago Bulls (25-10) and Brooklyn Nets (23-12).