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Ja Morant enters NBA health and safety protocols while still out with knee injury

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Ja Morant is in the NBA's health and safety protocols, the Memphis Grizzlies announced Wednesday.

Morant was already listed as out for the Grizzlies' game against the Dallas Mavericks. He's missed the last five games with a left knee sprain sustained in late November and was expected to miss at least "a couple of weeks," head coach Taylor Jenkins said.

He was expected to remain out for the Grizzlies' three remaining games this week. But entry into the protocols could mean any anticipated return next week is pushed back farther.

The 2019-20 Rookie of the Year told reporters in September he received the COVID-19 vaccine. He said he knows people who have died from complications of contracting the coronavirus and wanted to protect his 2-year-old daughter, Kaari, per the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

NBA protocols require players who have tested positive for COVID-19 to remain in isolation for 10 days or until they return at least two negative PCR test results from separate samples collected at least 24 hours apart.

Morant was at his former high school in Sumter, South Carolina, on Tuesday night where his jersey was retired.

Morant is averaging 24.1 points, 6.8 assists and 5.6 rebounds in 19 games this season. While he's been out, the Grizzles (14-10) have rattled off a five-game winning streak that they're taking into Dallas. It included a record 73-point blowout against the Oklahoma City Thunder last week.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) looks on before taking a foul shot in the second half during an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) looks on before taking a foul shot in the second half during an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)