SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs announced on Monday that five players are currently under the NBA’s COVID health and safety protocols and will not be with the team for its next scheduled game at Oklahoma City.
Rudy Gay, Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, Quinndary Weatherspoon and Derrick White are all not with the team and will not travel for Wednesday’s game.
The Spurs also announced that DeMar DeRozan is not with the team due to personal reasons. DeRozan posted on social media on Friday that his father, Frank, had passed away.
In a zoom conference call with the media on Monday, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said DeRozan was handling his father’s death about “as well as anyone would expect when you lose a parent.” Popovich added that he has been in touch with DeRozan.
“It’s a difficult situation. He is a very mature, kind man and he is doing what he needs to do with his family right now,” Popovich said.
The Spurs have not played since Feb. 14. The NBA announced last week that four players tested positive and four games were postponed due to contact tracing.
The team was placed under quarantine in Charlotte, but some of the players have returned to San Antonio and practiced on Monday afternoon.
The league mandates that a team has eight players available to play a game. The Spurs called up Tre Jones and Luka Samanic from the G-League Austin Spurs on Sunday. They would presumably be available for San Antonio this week.
LaMarcus Aldridge also participated in Monday’s practice, but his status for Wednesday’s game has not been finalized.
Aldridge has missed the team’s previous six games with a hip injury. He was not with the team in Charlotte when the outbreak occurred. Popovich said Aldridge did well at practice Monday, but still needed to be reevaluated.
Popovich also did not have a timeline for when the five players in the league’s protocols would return to the roster.
San Antonio power forward Drew Eubanks was placed under the league’s health protocols earlier this season after the Spurs played at the LA Lakers on Jan. 7. He did not return to active roster until Jan. 27
Despite a depleted roster for the near future and a challenging week for the team, Popovich put things in perspective and discussed the millions affected by last week’s winter storm across Texas.
Gregg Popovich was asked by @ByTimReynolds about putting things in perspective after multiple Spurs players tested positive for COVID, DeMar's family loss and the winter storm that left millions without power and water in Texas. Here's what Pop had to say. #KSATsports #KSATnews pic.twitter.com/wtsyUqaONv— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) February 22, 2021
“We’ve always had the philosophy that there are always people or groups of people who have it worse than you do and considering our positions in this world, we’re very well off, and so complaining or feeling sorry for one self, that’s not in the picture.
“It’s inappropriate, not deserved. Only thank you’s for what we all have. At this time you just think about all the people that have gone through hell, and as we’ve seen from all the reports, it didn’t have to be that way.
“But a little bit of either sloth or incompetence, or lack of attention to detail with the job. It’s a situation that did not have to happen, and you don’t have to be a Republican or Democrat or Independent to figure that out. The facts are right there and it’s a damn shame,” Popovich said.