With COVID-19 cases on the rise throughout the NBA, the Nets have been one of the hardest hit teams with multiple payers entering league health and safety protocols.

As reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, James Harden entered the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols less than two hours before kickoff against the Raptors on Tuesday, December 14.

Harden has played in 26 of the Nets’ 30 games this season, averaging 20.8 points, 9.6 assists and 7.9 rebounds.

MORE: Updated team-by-team player list in health and safety protocols

Why did James Harden enter the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols?

As Gilbert McGregor of Sporting News recently detailed, any vaccinated NBA player is placed on health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19 or receiving an inconclusive COVID-19 test result.

In addition to receiving a positive or inconclusive test result, an unvaccinated player is also placed in the league’s health and safety protocols if they are deemed to have been exposed to a person who is positive for COVID-19.

MORE: NBA COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols Explained

How long will James Harden be out?

If any player tests positive for COVID-19, they must spend a minimum of 10 days away from their team, unless they return two negative PCR tests within 24 hours.

Unvaccinated players who are marked for contact tracing must remain in quarantine for seven days and can return to action if they continue to return negative tests. In most cases, vaccinated players who are marked for contact tracing will not be required to self-quarantine, but will need seven days of more frequent testing.

In addition to receiving clearance from the league, individual teams can implement a return-to-play program to ensure that a player is prepared for the cardiovascular demands of returning to the court.

Over the past few weeks, several players have tested the league’s health and safety protocols to return to their team in less than 10 days.

Will James Harden play at Christmas?

Since entering NBA health and safety protocols on Dec. 14, Harden would have to try outside of the protocols to play in Brooklyn’s Christmas Day meeting with the Lakers.

Harden has already missed the Nets’ last four games, yet the league has postponed his next two games: Sunday against the Nuggets and Tuesday against the Wizards.

The Nets currently have 10 players in the league’s health and safety protocols, including Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Nets upcoming schedule

Date Adversary Time (ET Transmission
Tuesday December 21 vs. Was postponed)
Thursday, Dec. 23 in POR 10:00 pm
Saturday, dec. 25 in LAL 8:00 pm ABC
Monday December 27 in the C 10:30 pm NBA TV
Thursday, Dec. 30 with. FLY 7:00 pm NBA TV
Sat, Jan one against Clippers 7:30 pm
Wed, Jan. 3 vs. MEM 7:30 pm NBA TV