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Wolves’ Rudy Gobert is entering health and safety protocols

Timberwolves centre Rudy Gobert has been ruled out of Saturday’s game against Houston after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Minnesota announced (via Twitter).

According to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link), Gobert was listed as questionable (illness) for Friday’s loss to Milwaukee, but ended up playing 30 minutes in the game and is now in the protocols, which is not a good situation for anyone involved. Gobert was known to be the first known NBA player to test positive for COVID-19 in March 2020.

The league revised its COVID-related protocols over the summer and now requires testing for vaccinated players only when they show symptoms of the virus. Players who have not been vaccinated must still be tested once a week. Players are subject to isolation measures after a positive test.

If Gobert registers a positive COVID-19 test, he will have to remain in the protocols for at least five days, unless he records two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart. A five-day absence will sideline him for games next week against the Knicks and Suns in addition to tonight’s game, with a likely return next Friday at Memphis, assuming he feels better by then.

The Wolves have had a rough start to the 2022-23 season following their blockbuster trade to acquire Gobert from Utah in July, currently sitting with a 4-5 record. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year has been his normal productive self individually — he’s averaging 12.6 points, a league-best 13.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in nine games (32.2 minutes) — but the starting lineup has struggled offensively.

It was expected that there would be an acclimation period after the Wolves traded two starters in the Gobert deal, and that proved to be accurate. Losing Gobert temporarily certainly won’t help, but it’s worth noting that Minnesota got off to a slow start last season and made the playoffs after a second-half surge.

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