Knicks coach Johnnie Bryant is latest to go in COVID protocols

DETROIT — Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau has taken to wearing a mask on the sidelines the past two games in Minnesota and Detroit. Maybe all his assistants should follow suit after the Knicks have lost another key piece to COVID-19.

The Post has learned top assistant Johnnie Bryant has been placed in COVID protocols and will be lost for the rest of the road trip.

Bryant, the former Utah assistant, wasn’t on the bench for the Knicks’ near-disaster Wednesday in Motown in which they came back from a 14-point hole to defeat the decimated, league-worst Pistons, 94-85.

Bryant was seen on the bench in Minnesota on Tuesday. but the Knicks had plane trouble on the trip to Detroit and didn’t land until 5 a.m. Wednesday. Bryant was put in protocols Wednesday afternoon.

Johnnie Bryant on Jan. 24, 2021.
Getty Images

Bryant will be out at least six days under the NBA’s new protocols unless he is negative twice in a span of 24 hours. The Knicks revered assistant, who works with guards, is credited for keeping Kemba Walker from going off the rails during his nine-game banishment.

The Knicks flew to Oklahoma City for a New Year’s Eve tilt and head to Toronto next, so Bryant is expected to miss the rest of the four-game trip. Bryant’s positive means the Knicks aren’t quite done yet with their COVID run.

Compared to the rest of the ravaged league, the Knicks are relatively healthy with just three players in protocols – Nerlens Noel, Jericho Sims and Wayne Selden. At this moment, neither of the tree are considered essential performers.

All told, the Knicks have had nine COVID-19 positives for players – each coming after the Knicks returned from a three-game trip to San Antonio, Indiana and Toronto.

After the Dec. 10 game in Canada, Obi Toppin and RJ Barrett tested positive. In addition, MSG Network broadcasters, Walt Frazier and Rebecca Haarlow also were put in COVID-19 protocols.

The Knicks will be back in Toronto for the Jan. 2 game.