The Mavericks and center Kristaps Porzingis got a stern reminder Sunday that even an innocent mistake will be dealt with quickly when it comes to medical protocols in the NBA’s bubble.
The 7-3 center was not allowed to play in the scrimmage against Indiana because he missed a mandatory coronavirus test on Saturday, which was a scheduled off day for the team.
The league stipulates that when a player misses a test, he must be retested and cannot participate in team activities the next day.
“He broke one of the protocols yesterday, he didn’t get tested – just forgot to get tested,” Carlisle said before the Mavericks’ 118-111 loss to the Pacers, their second of three scrimmages leading up to Friday’s restart.
“When that happens, for safety reasons, he’s unable to join the team the following day. He’s getting retested today (Sunday). I believe he’ll be able to rejoin us tomorrow (Monday).”
Carlisle stressed that it’s incumbent on everybody inside the bubble to keep up with their testing requirements.
He said it’s not always the easiest thing to remember.
“This situation was one where he just took his eye off the ball a little bit in terms of the day-to-day protocols and procedures,” Carlisle said. “It can be challenging on off days to keep track of the schedule.
“I almost missed testing on our first off day. I was lucky I was able to get tested a little before 9 p.m. before they were closing up. It’s an innocent mistake, but it’s significant.”
Carlisle said the Mavericks have put players in groups of two or three so that they can remind each other on testing days. Testing times vary from day to day, so having more people watching out for each other should help.
Luka Doncic said the burden still falls on the players.
“Our trainers remind us of the testing,” Doncic said. “It’s an everyday thing, so you got to think about it. Sometimes, it happens.”
Porzingis has had a consistently improving season as he came back after missing all of the 2018-19 year to recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He has averaged 19.2 points and 9.5 rebounds in his first Mavericks’ season.
“I did speak to him,” Carlisle said. “He was very contrite and really felt bad about letting the team down.
“Something like this, all of us can take as a cautionary tale. And we’ve just got to remember that the details of this situation that we’re involved in are very, very important.”
The NBA last week said that of nearly 350 players tested for COVID-19, not a single player came back with a positive result.
Local ties: The Pacers that beat the Mavericks Sunday are fighting a tough injury with most-improved candidate Domantas Sabonis out with a leg injury.
But the Pacers still have Euless Trinity product Myles Turner, who showed off a couple of nice post moves that he apparently was working on during the four-month hiatus.
Turner has improved his 3-point shooting (he made his only long ball against the Mavericks), so including a post game will make him even tougher to combat.
Turner had 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks against the Mavericks.
“Wow, what a player,” Carlisle said. “He’s one of the prototypical five men of the future, along with KP.
“He can play inside, outside, shoot deep, drive it, rebound, defend, protect the rim. He’s a very special player and he’s certainly no picnic to prepare for because he can do so many things.”
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