Giannis Antetokounmpo enters NBA’s COVID-19 protocols: Will Bucks star play on Christmas Day?

Ravaged by injury to start the 2021-22 season, the Bucks are one of many teams now dealing with multiple players being placed into the league’s health and safety protocols.

Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of those players, with the Bucks superstar joining Wesley Matthews, Bobby Portis and Donte DiVincenzo on the sideline.

Prior to entering the protocols, Antetokounmpo had appeared in 26 of Milwaukee’s 29 games this season.

MORE: Updated team-by-team list of players in health and safety protocols

Why did Giannis Antetokounmpo enter the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols?

As TSN’s Gilbert McGregor recently detailed, any vaccinated NBA player is placed in the health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19 or receiving an inconclusive COVID-19 test result.

In addition to receiving a positive or inconclusive test result, an unvaccinated player is also placed in the league’s health and safety protocols if they have been deemed to have been exposed to a person who is positive for COVID-19.

MORE: NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, explained

How long will Giannis Antetokounmpo be out?

If any player tests positive for COVID-19, they must spend a minimum of 10 days away from their team unless they return two negative PCR tests within a 24-hour span.

Unvaccinated players who are flagged for contact tracing must quarantine for seven days and can return to action should they continue to return negative tests. In most cases, vaccinated players who are flagged for contact tracing will not be required to quarantine, but need seven days of more frequent testing.

In addition to receiving clearance from the league, individual teams can implement a return-to-play program to ensure a player is prepared for the cardiovascular demands of getting back on the floor.

Over the last few weeks, multiple players have tested out of the league’s health and safety protocols to return to their team in less than 10 days.

Will Giannis Antetokounmpo play on Christmas?

Entering health and safety protocols on Dec. 14, Antetokounmpo is cutting it close with the 10-day minimum rule if he is to suit up for Christmas Day at Fiserv Forum against the Celtics.

Of course, he could test out of protocols before that time, but at this stage, it appears to be a race against time.

Antetokounmpo has missed three games so far in the protocols, with the Bucks holding a 1-2 record in that span. Before Christmas Day, the Bucks host the Rockets before travelling to Dallas for a meeting with the Mavericks and former head coach Jason Kidd. 

Bucks upcoming schedule

Date Opponent Time (ET) Broadcast
Wed, Dec. 22 vs. Houston 8:00 p.m.  
Thu, Dec. 23 at Dallas 8:30 p.m.  NBA TV
Sat, Dec. 25 vs. Boston 2:30 p.m. ABC
Tue, Dec. 28 at Orlando 7:00 p.m.  
Thu, Dec. 29 at Orlando 7:00 p.m.  
Sat, Jan. 1 vs. New Orleans 6:30 p.m.  
Mon, Jan. 3 vs. Detroit 8:00 p.m.  

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