California Sports

Andrew Wiggins returns to Warriors after released from COVID protocol

The NBA released updated COVID-19 health and safety protocol on Monday, clearing the path for forward Andrew Wiggins to rejoin the Golden State Warriors.

The Golden State Warriors are getting some much-needed reinforcements after a stretch with multiple players out due to league health protocols.

Following the NBA’s decision to release guidelines that allow vaccinated players and coaches to be released from quarantine after six days, Wiggins rejoined the Warriors at practice ahead of their matchup with the Denver Nuggets.

“He’s probable for (Tuesday),” head coach Steve Kerr said of Wiggins. “He took part in practice today, he’s getting an extra workout now and he’ll come in tomorrow and go through the pregame routine and I would expect him to play. But we obviously have to follow all of the protocols and he’s got to feel well enough to play.”

NBA teams received a memo Monday stating vaccinated players who are asymptomatic can exit quarantine after six days if they provide negative results from COVID-19 testing that prove they are no longer infectious. During the week, Wiggins dealt with “a little sore throat, maybe a light headache,” but did not experience any severe symptoms. Before Monday’s announcement, Wiggins would have had to miss a fourth consecutive game to rejoin the Warriors.

Wiggins’ contribution so far

Wiggins is averaging 18.7 points on 49.1 percent shooting from the field, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in 31.1 minutes per game, making him a probable All-Star candidate.

Wiggins scored 27 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the field with five three-pointers, six rebounds, and two assists in Golden State’s December 18 win against the Boston Celtics before missing four games. Wiggins has scored in double digits in every game for the Warriors this season.

In addition to Wiggins returning to the starting lineup on Tuesday, Jordan Poole was reported to be still in the protocol on Monday. Despite entering health and safety protocols two days before Wiggins, Poole had to be quarantined in Boston. On Monday, he reportedly went back across the country, but it’s still unknown whether he’ll be ready to rejoin the Warriors.

Steve Kerr on other players

According to Kerr, each player has their own circumstances, including Poole’s, and will be treated differently based on them. Rick (Celebrini) and the training staff will determine what is best for Poole, and they will let the media know if they have any news. “But at this point, I couldn’t predict when he’ll play,” he added.

Along with Poole, the Warriors are also without forward Draymond Green, who entered protocols on Sunday, guard Damion Lee on December 22 and center Moses Moody on December 24. Golden State’s biggest loss to date is Green’s absence.

“(Green has) very mild symptoms, he’s in good spirits, he’s disappointed obviously with the way things are going and the way he’s playing, but big picture, this is a bump in the road,” Kerr said.

Green, who would have missed his team’s next five games under the old protocols, would now only miss three if he’s cleared for action by January 3.

Otto Porter Jr. could replace Draymond Green after Wiggins returns to the starting lineup. While Toscano-Anderson, Kuminga and Bjelica are likely to start in Green’s place and play more minutes against the Nuggets.

On Tuesday at 7 p.m., the Warriors and Nuggets will face off at Chase Center.