LaMelo Ball, three other Hornets placed in health and safety protocols

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The Charlotte Hornets have placed star guard LaMelo Ball, along with three other players, into the league’s health and safety protocols, the team announced Saturday. If those players tested positive for the coronavirus — as is likely the case — they will be out Sunday when the Hornets face the Hawks, will be out for at least 10 days or until they have two negative tests that are 24 hours apart.

In addition to Ball, Terry Rozier, Mason Plumlee and Jalen McDaniels are in the protocols.

It is unknown if the four players are vaccinated, but about 97% of NBA players are, according to the league. It is possible the players return more quickly than 10 days — LeBron James just did after a false positive — but if they tested positive it likely will be about that timeframe.

Charlotte is 13-11 on the season and sits seventh in the East.

Ball has taken a step forward in his second season, averaging 20 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 7.7 assists a game, while taking on a larger share of the Hornets’ offense. The Hornets have been 8.2 points per 100 possessions better when Ball is on the court this season, with their offense being elite when he is on the court and bottom 10 when he sits.

The news out of Charlotte comes as the NBA pushes players, coaches, and staff to get booster shots. That push followed a study done for the league that showed in the breakthrough cases that have happened, the waning efficacy of the vaccine played a role. Players who do not have received a booster shot by Dec. 17 will face gameday testing and other stricter rules.