COVID’s strikes again! This time around, the virus is devastating Chicago’s beloved Bulls so much so that the NBA has postponed two games. As reported by renowned ESPN columnist Adrian Wojnarowski, with Zach Lavine, Troy Brown Jr. and Alize Johnson entering the NBA’s COVID protocols, the Chicago Bulls’ roster now only consists of eight players. According to Wojnarowski, the NBA will reschedule the Bulls-Pistons game on Tuesday in Chicago and Bulls-Raptors on Thursday in Toronto for future dates.
The dominoes began to fall on Dec. 1 when Bulls guard Coby White tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Since then, countless players have entered COVID protocols: Javonte Green (Dec. 3), DeMar DeRozan (Dec. 5), Matt Thomas (Tuesday), Derrick Jones Jr. (Thursday), Ayo Dosunmu and Stanley Johnson (Saturday), and now LaVine, Brown and Johnson.
It is worth noting the entire Bulls roster is fully vaccinated. The Montenegrinian center Nikola Vučević stated after Saturday’s 119-82 loss to the Miami Heat that most of the players in COVID protocols have received the booster shot, which boosts one’s protection against COVID-19.
During the early stages of the outbreak, the Bulls won their first three games. But, after losing their MVP candidate, Demar DeRozan, they suffered blowout losses in Cleveland and Miami. While it has not been easy, LaVine has carried the Bulls through this rough time; but, with the Bulls’ fate in the hands of just nine players, they are being outscored by a whopping average of 50 points per game.
While things may look gloomy for Bulls fans, the good news is according to Head Coach Billy Donovan, players are encountering little to no symptoms so, their odds of returning to action are rapidly improving, obviously after they produce their required two negative tests within a 24 hour period.
“We’ve got a lot of guys sitting home with no symptoms right now,” Donovan said. “That’s obviously a good thing, too, because when guys have gone through a little difficulty of getting really, really sick, it’s really made it a lot harder for them coming back.
“So we do have some guys that have felt under the weather, we have some guys that have very, very mild symptoms, and some guys who just don’t have any.”
Assuming all things go well, guards White and Green will be cleared from isolation sometime this week. However, as all players must, they must pass two cardiovascular tests and receive medical clearance from team doctors before they can jump back into action.
Just an idea, while the Bulls are dealing with this conundrum, could this be the timely chance for LiAngelo Ball (younger brother of Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball) to prove his place in the NBA?
The 23-year-old has been feening for an opportunity to play in the league and has played fairly well in his limited play with the Oklahoma City G-league affiliate, OKC Blue. Yes, we all know this move from the Bulls is highly unlikely but it would be the perfect next chapter in the Ball family saga.
Nevertheless, the Bulls are set to face off Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers. It will be interesting to see how many more players will enter the league’s COVID protocols.
By Jeremiah Griffith, Junior, Noble Academy