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Memphis Grizzlies pull Jonas Valanciunas at halftime due to health and safety protocols – ESPN

Posted: January 9, 2021 at 9:53 pm

After playing 14 minutes in the first half, Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas did not return for the second half of Friday's game against the Brooklyn Nets because of health and safety protocols, the team said.

Valanciunas, a starter who scored 8 points and grabbed 4 rebounds, did not register a positive coronavirus test, a Grizzlies official told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

"As soon as we got notification in conversations with the league, we had to pull him from the game out of an abundance of caution and put him into the health and safety protocol," Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. "Big thing is he's not positive, but it's abundance of caution. We had to make that move immediately, and great execution on the part of our performance staff, security staff, to get that word out and take him out of the game."

Valanciunas checked out of the game with 5:17 remaining in the second quarter. The Grizzlies held off a Nets comeback to win, 115-110. Dillon Brooks led the Grizzlies with 24 points and Brandon Clarke added 21, while Caris LeVert poured in 43 for the Nets on 15-of-23 shooting.

"You've got to adapt and remain positive through it," Jenkins said. "That's one of the things we talked to the team about at the beginning of the year is how unique of a season this is going to be. You've got to be positive, adapt, comply and be together. It's our pact -- p-a-c-t."

According to the league's protocols, if Valanciunas is being held out due to contact tracing, he would be required to quarantine for seven days before being cleared to return if he continues to register negative tests, meaning he would miss at least three games.

In the recent week, the NBA has been managing a number of players missing games due to the protocols. The Nets' Kevin Durant has been out the past week, the Nuggets' Michael Porter Jr. is out indefinitely, and three Dallas Mavericks were held out following a positive test within the team. Philadelphia 76ers guard Seth Curry recently had to exit midgame because of a positive test.

Valanciunas, 28, was averaging 15.0 points and 11.4 rebounds in eight games before Friday.

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Memphis Grizzlies pull Jonas Valanciunas at halftime due to health and safety protocols - ESPN

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