The Chicago Bulls have found a way to roll with the punches early this season while compiling one of the Eastern Conference’s records.
Now, it appears an outbreak of players landing on the COVID-19 protocol list will be the next hurdle the Bulls must clear. The Bulls announced Wednesday that they have placed reserve guard Matt Thomas on the protocol list after he traveled with the team for Wednesday night’s game against the Cavaliers.
Thomas is the fourth player in the past eight days to be placed on the protocol list, joining DeMar DeRozan, Devonte Green, and Coby White, all of whom have tested positive for COVID-19 since Dec. 1.
Bulls executives have reported that the team is 100 percent vaccinated, which means that anyone on the protocol list needs to produce back-to-back negative tests in a 48-hour period. DeRozan, the Bulls’ leading scorer, tested positive this week before the Bulls win over the Denver Nuggets and will not be cleared to play this weekend when the Bulls face the Heat on Saturday.
The Bulls are also playing without Alex Caruso, who is out with a hamstring injury, which has forced coach Billy Donovan to move farther down his bench. On Wednesday, Chicago native and former University of Illinois star Ayo Dosunmu made his first career NBA star and logged 41 minutes and scored 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting in the win over the Nuggets.
Still, the Bulls have produced three straight victories since Dec. 1 with wins over the Knicks, Nets, and Nuggets. The Bulls are just one half-game behind the Nets for the Eastern Conference’s best record at 17-8 and face a Cleveland team that is 8-7 but that has lost two straight games entering Wednesday night’s game.
Donovan will just have 11 players available to him on Wednesday night. But that will change this weekend when the Bulls will add Stanley Johnson to the roster after the Bulls were granted a hardship waver by the league, NBC Sports Chicago reported.
Johnson was among the final Bulls’ roster cuts and has spent time with the Los Angeles’ Laker’s G League affiliate, where he has averaged 15.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 2.2 steals in six games.
NBC Sports Chicago reported that because of the outbreak, the Bulls are limited in how much they can practice and hold shootarounds. The team is also encouraged to wear masks during team activities.
Keywords: Chicago Bulls, NBA Basketball Team, Chicago Bulls Health & Safety, Chicago Bulls Covid Outbreak
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