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Hornets’ bench takes a major hit with loss of their top reserve due to COVID protocols

Charlotte Hornets guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

Charlotte Hornets guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

AP

Don’t expect to see kisses blown into the stands for a while.

Kelly Oubre, the Charlotte Hornets versatile swingman, has landed in health and safety protocols and is out for Monday’s rematch with Milwaukee at Spectrum Center, the team announced. Unless he can produce two negative PCR tests within a 24-hour span, that means Oubre is likely going to miss the next three games beginning with their matchup with the Bucks before potentially making his return in New York against the Knicks during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee.

His loss is a blow to the Hornets’ bench and comes less than a week after his record-breaking performance in their win over Detroit when he drained a personal-best nine 3-pointers and tied an NBA record — breaking the franchise mark in the process — with eight made 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Oubre is averaging 16.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game and is just one of three reserves in the league to post 20 points or more in three straight games. The Hornets are 7-3 when Oubre registers at least 20 points off the bench.

He entered the week ranked sixth in the NBA in made 3-pointers with 114 and the 83 3-pointers he’s connected on as a reserve puts him fourth in that category among non-starters.

In short, he’s really clutch and the Hornets are going to miss his services and hot shooting. He’s their latest member sidelined due to health and safety protocols. So far, the only players who have not been affected during the regular season are Gordon Hayward, Nick Richards, James Bouknight, Kai Jones, Arnoldas Kulboka and JT Thor.

Roderick Boone joined the Observer in September 2021 to cover the Charlotte Hornets and NBA. In his more than two decades of writing about the world of sports, he’s chronicled everything from high school rodeo to a major league baseball no-hitter to the Super Bowl to the Finals. The Long Island native has deep North Carolina roots and enjoys watching “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” endlessly.
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