Basketball: Raptors' Watanabe enters NBA's COVID-19 protocol

© Kyodo News

Toronto Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe has been placed in the league's COVID-19 health and safety protocol before the game against the San Antonio Spurs, the NBA team said Tuesday.

Watanabe and Svi Mykhailiuk have become the latest players to enter protocols, and the pair will out of action for at least the next five days. The Raptors have been dealing with a significant number of coronavirus cases over the past weeks.

Watanabe signed his first standard NBA contract this season, his fourth season as a pro, after spending his entire North American professional career on a two-way deal, initially with the Memphis Grizzlies before joining the Raptors ahead of the 2020-2021 season.

Despite missing the first 18 games of the season due to a calf injury, the 27-year-old Japanese is currently averaging 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in the 14 games he has appeared in.

The Raptors are 16-17 and are now in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings.