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Rick Carlisle tests positive for COVID-19, Pacers cancel Thursday's practice
The Pacers head coach entered the health & safety protocols after a positive test. Also in the story ... an update on Justin Holiday.
The Pacers were scheduled to practice late Thursday morning. A film session, some strength training and light on-court work.
It would have been a feel-good Thursday after they started strong against the Knicks the night before — en route to a 122-102 win in which all five starters scored 15 points or more.
However, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle has entered the NBA’s Health & Safety Protocols after testing positive for COVID-19, a league source confirmed to Fieldhouse Files. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, practice was cancelled and additional testing took place.
The decision was announced at 9:30 a.m.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN, who covered Carlisle in Dallas, tweeted that Carlisle had a positive rapid test after Wednesday’s game and “took a PCR test today to confirm, but that result is not expected until Friday.”
Forty-five minutes later, the Toronto Raptors cancelled their practice as well. The common thread between the two teams is that they played the Wizards on consecutive nights; Wizards at Raptors on Sunday followed by Wizards at Pacers on Monday.
The NBA ramped up the frequency of tests over the last several weeks, even for those who are vaccinated. Carlisle is fully vaccinated — as required of all coaches and staff members by the NBA — but per the protocol, would need to record two negative PCR tests conducted more than 24 hours apart to return.
The Pacers (11-16) are scheduled to host the Mavericks (12-12), Carlisle’s former team, Friday night at The Fieldhouse. But Carlisle is now unlikely to be out there.
Top assistant Lloyd Pierce, the former Hawks head coach from 2018-2021, would fill in until Carlisle’s return.
The Pacers are off this weekend, which provides Carlisle additional time to test negative.
Meanwhile, forward Justin Holiday remains in the protocol and away from the team after a positive test last Tuesday. He is doing well and on track to rejoin the team this weekend ahead of Monday’s game against the Warriors, league sources told Fieldhouse Files.