Branden Carlson of Utah basketball team plays against Missouri, Fresno State in health and safety protocol


All other Utes are available for Saturday afternoon match at Mizzou Arena

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah center Utes Branden Carlson (35) takes control of the ball during Utes’ 96-62 win over Manhattan Jaspers at the Jon M.Huntsman Center, on Saturday, Dec. 2021.

University of Utah Branden Carlson Campus Center has been included in the sports department’s health and safety protocol and will be on the field for Saturday’s game in Missouri, multiple sources told The Salt Lake Tribune.

Carlson, Utah’s top scorer (13.7 PPG) and counter-attacker (6.0 RPG), is also expected to miss. Tuesday’s game against Bang Fresno. Currently, Utah is targeting December 30 in Oregon State for Carlson’s return. The Utes team plays in Oregon on January 1.

According to the source, the rest of the Craig Smith list – except for the injured Dusan Mahorcic (right foot) – made the trip to Columbia and will be available Saturday afternoon at Mizzou Arena (2:30 p.m., SEC Network).

Carlson’s absence comes as the college basketball scene becomes increasingly impacted by COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. As of 8 a.m. Saturday, no fewer than 20 Division I shows had either been put on COVID-19 pause or had games canceled. Among those canceled matches were the top, neutral court Saturday afternoon games between UCLA and North Carolina and Ohio State and Kentucky in Las Vegas, and Seton Hall and Iona at Madison Square Garden. Instead, the Tar Heels and Wildcats will play against each other Saturday afternoon in Vegas (3:30 p.m., CBS).

Every member of the Utah program – players, coaches and support staff – is fully vaccinated. Smith said early this week that additional injections will be arranged within the next week for any members of the program who wish to take advantage.

With the exception of Mahorcic and now Carlson, Smith doesn’t have his two most productive big boys. Far ahead of them, 6-foot-10-year-old fourth-year student Lahat Thioune is racking up 16 points and seven rebounds in just 13 minutes after a stellar victory over Manhattan on Dec.

Without Thioune on the floor, Utah would automatically come out with a small squad, likely Riley Battin, the 6-foot-9 forward, playing out of position at both ends of the floor.

Tribune will update this story. Branden Carlson of Utah basketball team plays against Missouri, Fresno State in health and safety protocol

Beth Allcock

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