WASHINGTON -- Washington Wizards starting forward Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has entered the NBA's health and safety protocol following a positive COVID-19 test, just days after the team returned from a four-day Western Conference road trip.
Caldwell-Pope hit a clutch three in the closing seconds of their win over the Jazz on Saturday night in Utah and two days later, on Monday evening, tested positive. He will now have to register two negative tests within a 24-hour period or sit out at least 10 days.
It is unclear if Caldwell-Pope is vaccinated, or if he has received a booster shot.
"We will be vigilant with our testing and continue to test as we have," head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. "Hopefully that’s the extent of it, but as we’ve seen around the league and around the country, as cases spike, we just have to be a little more careful about where we go and who we’re with."
With Caldwell-Pope unavailable for the time being, the Wizards have signed guard Jordan Schakel to a 10-day hardship exemption, per ESPN (NBC Sports Washington has confirmed). Schakel was playing for their G-League affiliate. He gets the call-up after averaging 14.1 points while shooting 39.6% from three for the Capital City Go-Go.
The Wizards dealt with three positive tests recently; forward Kyle Kuzma and two staffers. Kuzma tested positive on Dec. 10, was cleared to return and played a game on Dec. 15. The Wizards play next on Thursday at the New York Knicks.
Washington was supposed to play in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, but that game was postponed due to an outbreak of 10 players on the Nets' roster. The Knicks are also dealing with a series of players in protocol.
As Unseld Jr. said, the Wizards take many precautions to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 as part of the league's set of guidelines. While the virus is currently rampant around the league, he is hopeful they can limit the spread from Caldwell-Pope to others.
"We’ve been down this road, it’s obviously 2 1/2 years in. It’s never fun, but it’s reality. Protocols are there for that reason and there’s nothing we can do but abide and try to mitigate the inconvenience of it, but test as we’re required and go on," Unseld Jr. said.
Caldwell-Pope, 28, is one of only three players to appear in all 31 of the Wizards' games this season. He is averaging 11.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in 29.2 minutes per game.