Rockets lose Jae’Sean Tate, KJ Martin to growing health and safety protocols list

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Starting forward Jae’Sean Tate and reserve forward KJ Martin were each added on Monday afternoon to Houston’s growing list of health and safety protocols absences, which already included Garrison Mathews and DJ Augustin. Until this week, the Rockets had been largely unaffected by COVID-19 issues during the 2021-22 season.

Some consolation for the Rockets, along with numerous other teams that are currently having their rosters ravaged by positive COVID test results, is the new agreement between the NBA and the National Basketball Players’ Association (NBPA) that shortens the mandatory quarantine period for vaccinated players to six days, rather than 10.

Even with the reduced quarantine window, all players who were added to the protocols list over the last two days (barring an inconclusive result that ultimately proves to be negative, or the determination of a false positive) will still miss this week’s games for the Rockets, who are in Charlotte on Monday followed by home games on Tuesday versus the Lakers, Friday against Miami, and Saturday versus Denver.

But after those four games, they could potentially return as soon as Houston’s game at Philadelphia on Monday, Jan. 3.

With Houston facing its first widespread roster absences, there are also short-term roster implications. Under new rules, NBA teams are permitted to sign one replacement player for each player who tests positive for COVID-19, and teams are required to sign at least one replacement player if they have two positive cases; at least two if they have three positive cases; and at least three if they have four or more positive cases.

The Rockets filled one of the vacated roster spots by recalling rookie guard Daishen Nix from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Houston’s G League affiliate. But with Houston’s protocols list now expanding to at least four, further roster additions will be necessary.

Any replacement players who are signed will not count toward the team’s yearly salary and will not factor into any luxury tax calculations. Each hardship signing is initially for a period of 10 days.

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Garrison Mathews sidelined for Rockets by health, safety protocols

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