Grizzlies’ Valanciunas forced to leave mid-game due to coronavirus contact tracing

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Just before halftime of Memphis’ win over Brooklyn Friday night, Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas was taken out of the game, went back to the locker room, and soon left the arena due to contact tracing.

This means someone close to Valanciunas tested positive. Players are given a rapid test before each game, and if he had tested positive he would not have been allowed to play at all.

Under league rules, Valanciunas should have to quarantine for seven days and register negative tests in that time to return. The Grizzlies are already shorthanded, without Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., and now Valanciunas’ 15 points and 11.4 rebounds a game are gone. Expect to see more Gorgui Dieng and small-ball lineups out of Memphis for a few games.

Memphis joins a list of Philadelphia, Boston, and Dallas all hit hard by coronavirus protocols.