The Celtics’ search for full health suffered another blow with Evan Fournier entering NBA COVID protocol this morning. He has been ruled out for tonight’s game against the 76ers. Semi Ojeleye will return after a five-game absence due to an injury to his side after running into a hard screen during the Bucks series while Tristan Thompson remains out for conditioning after his respective stint on the COVID protocol list.
Fournier arrived in Oklahoma City during the Celtics’ road trip to end March and tested positive for COVID-19. The league’s protocol later determined the test a false positive, clearing Fournier to play four games in Boston last week, including a 0-for-10 debut then an 11-of-16 weekend from three.
“He landed there, found out that he had a positive test when he landed, was taken straight to the hotel and he’s sitting there waiting for his next few tests and if they’re positive, he’s there for the next two weeks in that hotel in Oklahoma City,” Brad Stevens told 98.5 The Sports Hub before the C’s played the Mavericks.
That marked one of many reasons NBA players can enter COVID protocol, which the Celtics have dealt with. Jayson Tatum, Robert Williams III and Carsen Edwards tested positive for the virus earlier this year and missed extended time. Edwards tested positive after missing time a week earlier in contact tracing, returning, then going down again. Jaylen Brown, Daniel Theis and Semi Ojeleye sat less time in contact tracing.
Tristan Thompson and Romeo Langford missed the past month in what still haven’t been confirmed positive tests. No team in the NBA has had players miss more time in COVID protocol than Boston — 131 days.
Fournier, as we’ve seen in those cases, could miss anywhere between one game or one month depending on why he entered protocol. The team indicated contact tracing as the reason for Brown’s absence, for example, while the later cases had no definitive reason attached and proved to be longer-term.
“There’s different parts, you can be positive, you can be contact tracing, whatever the case may be,” Stevens said. “If you do have a positive case, at some point you get tested again, but that’s after you are asymptomatic. Everybody is a little bit different.”