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Lakers guard Alex Caruso will miss Trail Blazers game due to COVID-19 protocols

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LOS ANGELES — Alex Caruso will miss Monday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers because of the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocol, Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel said before the game.

Caruso, who played 11 minutes in the Lakers’ 127-91 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, was considered questionable for the Blazers game because of a right hand strain, but Vogel clarified that it wasn’t Caruso’s hand that was keeping him out of the Portland game.

Vogel said there were no other players or staff members being held out of Monday’s game because of the contact tracing portion of the health and safety protocol.

“Everything we do at work, so to speak, in our travel party and everything is designed not only to keep us safe from the virus, but to protect us from quarantine situations,” Vogel said. “If we’re not following the protocols and a staff member is in close contact with someone, then they’re going to be subject to a potential close-contact quarantine. So that’s at work. So that’s why we feel like it’s safe to go through an NBA season the way we’re doing it.

“All these protocols are in place to keep everyone safe. So make sure we follow them, and the things that you have to think about is that’s not the only place people are. If any of us has a situation where a family member tests positive or something like that, we could all be subject to that type of close contact quarantine and but — in terms of what we’re doing at work, these protocols are designed to keep us safe.”

Caruso is averaging 5.3 points and 1.7 rebounds in three games off the bench this season.

All players are required to undergo daily coronavirus testing this season. The Lakers conduct the tests at their facility in El Segundo, California.

“We adjust the testing window based on what our day looks like,” Vogel said. “An off day, I think we’re typically doing something like 8 to 12, guys can come in any time during that window. And if we have practice at 11 or noon, we just adjust the testing window accordingly. For 9:45 shootarounds, testing starts at 7:30. So, we adjust it based on the day’s schedule and if we’re on an off day, we just drive in, go get tested and drive home.”

A league source, when speaking to ESPN about the testing requirements, said, “there’s no such thing as an off day this season.”

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