The Bruins will be without their leading scorer Thursday night against the Golden Bears.
Guard Johnny Juzang will miss UCLA men's basketball's (14-2, 6-1 Pac-12) game versus Cal (9-10, 2-6) at Pauley Pavilion on Thursday night due to COVID-19 protocols, a UCLA Athletics spokesperson told All Bruins. Guard Jaylen Clark, meanwhile, will miss a second second-consecutive game while in concussion protocols.
Both players' status for Saturday's game against Stanford remains undetermined.
The Bruins had five games canceled or postponed as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak within the team in December, with more than 10 players and coaches coming down with the virus. The result was a 26-day break between games, extended somewhat by health and safety protocols on their opponents' sides, and then a recovery period that included some spotty moments against Long Beach State and Cal earlier in January.
Juzang previously told the press that he was not one of the players who contracted the virus, meaning he remains at risk of testing positive with the omicron variant. New Pac-12 policies that went into effect at the start of the month state that Juzang only needs to isolate for five days should he test positive, so while he may avoid a lengthy absence, he would be in line to miss the Stanford game over the weekend if he winds up testing positive.
With no other players set to miss Thursday's in-state showdown, it appears the rest of the roster is not facing any serious COVID issues at the moment.
The last time Juzang missed a game for the Bruins was all the way back at the end of last regular season on March 6, 2021. UCLA lost to USC on a buzzer-beater 3, as no player on either side scored more than 13 points with Juzang nursing a mildly sprained ankle.
Juzang returned from that one-game absence to lead the Bruins to the Final Four, scoring 22.8 points per game on his way through the NCAA tournament.
Clark will be missing his third game out of the Bruins' last four, the first coming as a result of a non-COVID-related illness and the next two coming as a result of a concussion. Clark was hit in the face during practice Monday and was not able to go Tuesday against Arizona, although UCLA managed just fine without their undersized defensive and rebounding ace.
UCLA, without two of its top-six rotation players, will tip off against Cal at 6 p.m. Guard David Singleton, guard/forward Peyton Watson and guard/forward Jake Kyman are all in line to pick up more minutes with Juzang and Clark missing.
The Bruins beat the Golden Bears 60-52 on Jan. 8 with Juzang scoring a season-low nine points. In the five games since then, however, Juzang is averaging 22.6 points per game on .513/.500/.862 shooting splits with 5.4 rebounds per game and a positive assist-to-turnover ratio.