The Spurs’ center rotation has taken another hit, as Australian rookie Jock Landale has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News.
Jock Landale has joined Jakob Poeltl in the NBA's health & safety protocols, per league source.— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) November 10, 2021
Landale joins Spurs starting center Jakob Poeltl, who has missed their last three games under the same circumstances. Poeltl entered protocols on November 3 and cannot return for at least 10 days, so the Spurs’ visit to the Lakers on Sunday, Nov. 14 would be the soonest he could return to the court (although other factors such as his fitness level would need to be taken into account). Assuming the same rules apply to Landale (depending on the circumstances, which admittedly have never been explained for Poeltl), he would not be eligible to return until the Spurs game against the Phoenix Suns on Nov. 22.
Landale has appeared in just four games for the Spurs this season, most notably scoring 10 points on 4-4 shooting in garbage time of a loss to the Indiana Pacers. Even in Poeltl’s absence, he has struggled to crack the rotation, partly because of the setback caused after he suffered a concussion during the preseason, according to Gregg Popovich.
Even though it has mainly been Drew Eubanks and Thaddeus Young holding down the fort at center since Poeltl went out, not having Landale as an insurance policy behind them means they now need to be more careful than ever since the Spurs are truly out of big men otherwise. There have been moments when Pop went with micro lineups featuring either Keldon Johnson or Keita Bates-Diop (who is questionable for tonight’s game with a back contusion) at center, but it would be ideal to try and avoid those situations.
Because the entire Spurs roster is vaccinated, there is no requirement for anyone to also enter health and safety protocols due to contact tracing, so the remainder of the healthy roster will still be available.