Two Spurs assistant coaches in protocols

The Spurs faced Oklahoma City on Wednesday night without two of their assistant coaches after Mitch Johnson joined Becky Hammon in the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Johnson and Hammon are the latest members of the coaching staff to go into quarantine. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said first-year assistant Matt Nielsen, former head coach of the Austin Spurs, recently cleared protocols.

“It’s hit everybody, I guess,” Popovich said.

Asked if the Spurs could call up coaches from the G League to fill in, Popovich said: “We coaches aren’t that important anyway. We’d rather have all the players.”

Along those lines, the Spurs welcomed back reserve point guard Tre Jones, who cleared protocols Wednesday afternoon. Jones, who missed seven games, was the last of the nine players the Spurs lost to protocols during an outbreak of the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus that hit the team in late December and early January.

Spurs forward Doug McDermott praised the team’s training and medical staffs for their work in helping players get back on the court after stints in the virus protocols.

Los Angeles Clippers’ Reggie Jackson (1) looks to pass as teammate Ivica Zubac (40) and San Antonio Spurs’ Jock Landale (34) and Dejounte Murray watch during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

Darren Abate, FRE / Associated Press

McDermott was one of seven players who entered protocols…

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Tom Orsborn

Tom Orsborn

San Antonio Express-News

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Sportswriter for 36 years at San Antonio Express-News, covering everything from preps to the Cowboys to the Spurs. Proud San Antonio College alum.