Point guard Jamal Murray remains out as he recovers from a torn ACL. Wing player P.J. Dozier is out after tearing his ACL. Michael Porter Jr. is likely done for the season following another back surgery. And the hits just keep on coming to the Nuggets.
Guards Austin Rivers and rookie Bones Hyland are both out for the Nuggets Wednesday night against Orlando as they enter the league’s health and safety protocols. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the Rivers news.
Sources: Nuggets guard Austin Rivers has entered health and safety protocols and is expected to miss several games, including tonight's game vs. Orlando. Another loss to the Denver lineup, now without Rivers, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 1, 2021
Saying “several games” suggests that Rivers has tested positive for COVID-19. If he is vaccinated, league rules say he needs to be out 10 days, or, be asymptomatic and have two negative tests 24 hours apart (that could happen in fewer than 10 days if things break right).
Hyland was a late addition to the health and safety protocols, and he doesn’t get it.
Rules makes 0 sense to me..
— Bones Hyland (@BizzyBones11) December 1, 2021
It’s unknown if this is because Hyland also tested or tied to contact tracing connected to Rivers. However, if it is contact tracing, and he tests negative, he could return sooner than Rivers. Michael Singer of the Denver Post has the news.
Bones Hyland is also in the health and safety protocol and is expected to miss several games as well, I’m told. He’s not at #Nuggets shootaround.
Hyland and Rivers are the only players expected to be in the protocol.
— Mike Singer (@msinger) December 1, 2021
This leaves the Nuggets shorthanded going up against Orlando with just four guards available: Monte Morris, Will Barton, Facu Campazzo and Markus Howard. Not having the rookie Hyland is a blow for the young player, who scored a career-high 19 against Miami and was going to get a big bump in minutes with Rivers out.
Michael Malone might be forced to pull fans out of the first row to sub in for the Nuggets on Wednesday night.