Pierce to miss game against Nuggets due to COVID-19 protocols

Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce instructs his team against the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, in Dallas. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)
Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce instructs his team against the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, in Dallas. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce will miss the game against the Denver Nuggets Sunday due to health and safety protocols.

Pierce missed the team’s two games in Boston for the birth of his second child, with assistant coach Nate McMillan filling in as head coach. Pierce was originally expected back for Sunday’s game, and that’s what the Hawks staff was planning on, per McMillan, who will coach the home game against Denver. He’s now expected back for the Hawks’ matchup in Cleveland Tuesday.

“Because of the NBA protocols, we had to make an adjustment,” McMillan said. “With his time being off, we anticipated or thought that he would be able to return for tonight’s game, but the NBA stepped in and he had to take a couple more days off. He should be available, if everything goes well, for Cleveland’s game on Tuesday.”

Pierce has not tested positive for COVID-19, per a person familiar with the situation, but because he traveled back to Atlanta on a plane and has been in a hospital for the birth, he must test negative several times before he can be around the team again.

Because Pierce had been preparing to coach against the Nuggets, he held a Zoom call with the Hawks coaching staff earlier on Sunday to go over the game plan. Pierce and his family are doing well, McMillan relayed.

“He’s watching film in the midst of trying to help with the baby but he basically prepped us for the game tonight with the coaches this morning and talked about what we wanted to do, was going to try to do out there tonight,” McMillan said. “... Everybody’s doing well, family’s doing well.”

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