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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander enters health and safety protocols

The Thunder guard will be sidelined vs. Dallas after entering the league’s COVID protocols.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder dribbles the ball up court against the Sacramento Kings during the third quarter at Golden 1 Center on December 28, 2021 in Sacramento, California.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder have placed Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the league’s health and safety protocols, ruling him out for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.

This is a tough blow for the Thunder considering the rebuilding state of the franchise. Even as rookie Josh Giddey comes out of protocols, Gilgeous-Alexander going in hurts any potential chemistry the two could build. This season was always about the future, and these two will be keys for Oklahoma City.

With Gilgeous-Alexander in the protocols, look for Giddey, Lu Dort and Darius Bazley to get more ball-handling opportunities. Oklahoma City has the flexibility of minimal expectations, so experimentation is going to happen. The Thunder will hope to get Gilgeous-Alexander back soon, as the league’s protocols have been adjusted recently.

Gilgeous-Alexander signed a big extension in the offseason and has looked the part so far. He’s averaging 22.7 points, 5.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game this season, even though his efficiency has taken a significant hit.