Joe Ingles becomes first Utah Jazz player to enter COVID protocols this season

The Jazz are the last team in the NBA to record a COVID-19 case this season

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz guard Joe Ingles (2) as the Utah Jazz host the Boston Celtics, NBA basketball in Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.

Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles has entered the NBA’s COVID health and safety protocols, ensuring that he’ll miss at least five days, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Ingles was the first on the Jazz to enter the protocols, breaking a remarkable streak of health for Utah. Until Tuesday, the Jazz were the league’s only team without a COVID-related absence. Meanwhile, 15 of the league’s 30 teams had already used at least 20 players, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein.

With Ingles’ placement in the inactive list, Miye Oni’s trade to Oklahoma City on Tuesday, and center Udoka Azubuike’s badly sprained ankle, the Jazz have just 13 players available for Wednesday’s game against Denver. And that’s if Hassan Whiteside (concussion) and Eric Paschall (personal reasons) can play — both were late scratches for the Jazz’s game against New Orleans on Monday.

If teams have fewer than 13 players available, teams must sign a 10-day hardship player or players to fill the gaps. Hardship players do not count against the salary cap or luxury tax.

Ingles had missed the Jazz’s Dec. 31 game against Minnesota due to a back strain, his only other inactive list appearance of the season. The Australian is averaging 7.6 points and 3.6 assists per game in 25.2 minutes on the floor for the Jazz.