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Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nets' James Harden enter COVID-19 protocols

Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nets' James Harden enter COVID-19 protocols
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (R), shown July 11, 2021, was listed as out for Wednesday's game against the Indiana Pacers after entering the league's health and safety protocols. File Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE

Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo was ruled out for Wednesday's game against the Indiana Pacers after he was placed in the NBA's health and safety protocols Tuesday night.

Antetokounmpo was put in the league's COVID-19 protocols a day after scoring 20 points in 34 minutes during the Bucks' 117-103 loss to the Celtics in Boston. Milwaukee guard Wesley Matthews also has been in the protocols the past two games.

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The Bucks listed five players as out for Wednesday's contest against the Pacers: Antetokounmpo, Matthews, DeMarcus Cousins (personal reasons), Brook Lopez (back surgery) and Semi Ojeleye (calf strain).

To clear the league's protocols, a player must either self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days or return two negative PCR tests at least 24 hours apart.

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Also Tuesday, the Brooklyn Nets placed All-Star guard James Harden and forward Bruce Brown in the NBA's health and safety protocols. The Nets announced the update about an hour before Tuesday night's game against the Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center.

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The two additions brought the Nets' total to seven players ruled out due to the NBA's protocols within the past day. Veteran forward Paul Millsap entered the protocols Monday, followed by guard Jevon Carter and forwards LaMarcus Aldridge, James Johnson and DeAndre' Bembry earlier Tuesday.

Nets head coach Steve Nash told reporters that a "couple" of coaches and staff members also have entered the protocols. He noted that "predominantly" all of the players who tested positive were asymptomatic.

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Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers canceled Tuesday's practice after Talen Horton-Tucker returned a positive test result for COVID-19 and entered the NBA's protocols.

The Lakers had a practice scheduled before their flight to Dallas on Tuesday afternoon. Instead of taking the court, team members were directed to take two tests -- a rapid test and a PCR -- before meeting at the airport, ESPN reported.

Horton-Tucker is the second Lakers player to enter the protocols this season after superstar LeBron James spent about two days away from the team due to a false positive last month.

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