INDIANAPOLIS (AP)Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle will miss Friday night’s game against Dallas after testing positive for COVID-19. Assistant coach Lloyd Pierce will take over in Carlisle’s absence.
It was unclear how many games Carlisle will miss, but the Pacers expect it to be more than one.
The announcement comes one day after team officials canceled Thursday’s practice for precautionary reasons, citing the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
”There was a lot of precautionary steps by the organization and then it was just a matter of what to do next,” Pierce said. ”We came in between 8 and 9 this morning and tested – anyone they recommended for testing and pretty much anyone else we thought needed to be tested.”
Guard Justin Holiday is the only Pacers player who won’t play because of COVID-19. He entered the protocol on Nov. 30 and was listed as out before Friday’s game.
Carlisle’s absence comes as he was about to face his former team just four days after passing Larry Brown for second all-time in victories during Indiana’s NBA history. A second straight victory Wednesday gave Carlisle 192 career wins with Indiana.
He spent four seasons as the Pacers’ coach in the 2000s before going 555-478 in 13 seasons with Dallas, setting a franchise record for victories while leading the Mavericks to their only NBA championship in 2010-11. Carlisle returned to Indiana this offseason.
Pierce said Carlisle was tested after Wednesday’s victory over the New York Knicks because he had a headache and that Carlisle feels like he has a cold.
”He’s bummed out that he’s not here, but he understands the situation,” Pierce said.
Carlisle wasn’t the only one upset he wouldn’t be on the bench.
”I think the emotion, a lot of it, is taken out,” said Mavericks coach Jason Kidd, who Carlisle endorsed for the job. ”I just hope Rick is all right, first and foremost, because this is a pretty serious thing.”
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