Golden State Warriors big men James Wiseman and Eric Paschall will be out the next seven days because of health and safety protocols, the Warriors announced after Wednesday's 108-94 win over the Houston Rockets.
"This is just modern life," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said before the game. "Everybody seems to be going through this at some level in sports. So you just have to adapt and adjust. For the young players involved, it's just going to be a blip on the radar screen, ultimately. The good news is everybody is healthy and these guys have long careers ahead of them."
Kerr admitted after the game that the situation was frustrating, but he said the Warriors understood why the league has to be so cautious regarding ongoing COVID-19 protocols.
"Of course there's frustration, but there's nobody to blame," Kerr said. "Nobody is at fault here. These are the circumstances; this is the life we're living right now. The league has to be overly cautious in order to make sure everybody is able to stay healthy and the league is able to function, and so we fully respect the league's decision. At the same time, we're frustrated for Eric and James -- we have to take the long view here."
For Wiseman, the absence is another setback in an up-and-down rookie season. The 19-year-old has had some bright moments, but he has also been inconsistent as he tries to learn the NBA game.
After missing almost a month because of a wrist injury earlier in the season, Wiseman was benched for the first half of last Thursday's game against the LA Clippers after missing two days worth of COVID-19 tests during the All-Star break, which caused him to miss the first practice after the break -- a fact that irritated Kerr.
"It's a setback in his rookie season," Kerr said of Wiseman's latest misfortune. "But this is a guy who's got a 15-20 year career ahead of him. So in the grand scheme of things, it's not a huge deal."
Warriors forward Draymond Green said he would try to stay in contact with both young players to help keep their spirits up as they continue a weeklong absence from the team.
"Those are two of our better scorers," Green said. "Those are two guys that put a lot of pressure on the rim. So you take that out of the lineup, you miss it. And then also continuing to get those guys experience -- it seems like to people that Eric's been around quite a while because he played so much last year, but he's still a second-year player. James is a first-year player, so that's important experience that they're missing an opportunity on as well. I think Eric with his versatility kind of allows us to go to different lineups, and he's a matchup problem, so we'll miss that as well."
Kerr is hopeful that arrangements will be made to get Wiseman and Paschall back to San Francisco, but it remains to be seen when that will happen.
"I'm not exactly sure," Kerr said. "There's been some talk that we may be able to get people home to the Bay, not everybody, but the players, and the other people who did not test positive but are in contact tracing. So that's the hope that we'll be able to get some people home, but I don't know for sure yet."