The COVID-19 related hits keep coming for the Minnesota Timberwolves:
Minnesota's Jarred Vanderbilt and Patrick Beverley have entered COVID-19 health and safety protocols, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 20, 2021
As Shams tweeted out early Monday morning, both Patrick Beverley and Jarred Vanderbilt have entered the COVID-19 Health & Safety Protocols, joining teammates Anthony Edwards, Taurean Prince and Josh Okogie. For those of you scoring at home, that’s essentially half of the Wolves active rotation, and more than half of their preferred starting lineup, which means the team will be severely short-handed for their game against in Dallas on Tuesday.
There is obviously no positive spin here to any of this bad news, but it should at least be mentioned that this will be the first week since the start of the season that Minnesota only plays two games, which should soften the depth chart blow a little and allow these players to (hopefully) clear the protocols by the time they return to Target Center next Monday.
With five Timberwolves players currently in the Health & Safety Protocols, it should also be mentioned that the NBA and NBAPA recently announced late Sunday night an agreement that will allow teams to sign “reinforcement players” to help ease the burden of having so many players unavailable.
ESPN story with @TimBontemps on NBA and NBPA agreeing on roster reinforcements to stave off game postponements and higher luxury tax bills: https://t.co/kg8GsaMOQI— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 20, 2021
Basically, this agreement allows NBA teams the ability to sign one replacement player for each rostered player who tests positive for COVID-19, and the “hardship signings” will not impact a team’s salary cap and/or luxury tax.
With Beverley and Vanderbilt being added to this list on Monday, I’d expect the team to first look inward at the Iowa Wolves roster before exploring external options (i.e. signing free agent players like other NBA franchises have recently done). In other words, players like Nathan Knight and McKinley Wright IV could very well make the trip to Dallas to provide reinforcements.
With COVID-19 surging yet again across the country, it was inevitable that the Timberwolves would face some of the same issues that have ravaged teams like the Bulls, Nets, and Lakers. Here’s to hoping for a speedy and full recovery for those Wolves players who have recently entered the COVID protocols and to all of you reading this — please continue to mask up and be safe.