Bulls coach Billy Donovan revealed before Sunday's tipoff against the Mavericks that guard Tomáš Satoranský also tested positive for COVID-19, further challenging the Bulls' depth as they prepare for a four-game West Coast trip.
Satoranský landed in quarantine after Chandler Hutchison tested positive before last Thursday's road game against the Wizards. He returned to Chicago with teammates Lauri Markkanen and Ryan Arcidiacono, who were also placed in the league's health and safety protocol because of close contact to the original positive test in Hutchison.
The teammates traveled from Washington to Chicago in a Sprinter van, a source said, meaning they were in the same vehicle for upwards of 10 hours. At the very least, a second positive COVID-19 test will almost certainly extend the quarantine period for Markkanen and Arcidiacono. The hope, of course, is that the lengthy time inside the same van won't lead to more positive tests.
Donovan said a support staffer also tested positive without revealing that person's identity. The coach revealed the status of Satoranský with Satoranský's approval.
With the Bulls leaving Monday for the four-game trip that begins Tuesday in Portland, Ore., Donovan said it's likely the Bulls will be shorthanded throughout.
"What happens when they get lifted, they get clearance, those types of things?" he said. "But you can anticipate that it’s probably going to be on the back end of that road trip, and then we would probably have to make sense out of is it worthwhile to potentially have them come out for one game. And they would probably have to take a public flight; do they actually get cleared to even be able to come there? But leaving (Monday) for Portland, I would anticipate right now that we would be without those guys.’’
Per the league's return-to-play rules, Hutchison and Satoranský must sit out a minimum of 10 days from first testing positive -- and that's if they're asymptomatic. If they're symptomatic, that 10-day period begins from when those symptoms subside. In either scenario, players must pass a series of cardiac tests and practice solo for two days before being allowed to rejoin the team.
It's unclear when Satoranský tested positive. Hutchison remains in Washington D.C., per the Bulls.
The Bulls now have had four positive tests. Garrett Temple tested positive before the first day of training camp, saying a family gathering over Thanksgiving likely infected him. Noah Vonleh, since waived, tested positive during the preseason, leading to quarantine situations for Satoranský, Luke Kornet and Devon Dotson.
Donovan downplayed a question about whether the Bulls are bringing some of their misfortune upon themselves.
"I think our guys have been really pretty compliant. If there has been anything they’ve been able to do on these road trips, it’s all been league approved as it relates to restaurants or going somewhere," he said. "The thing that I cannot speak to is we just finished up the holiday season. I think for our guys, all of them have been very, very conscientious. A lot of times it could be coming from family or coming from outside or people getting together. Some of these guys have kids. Some of these kids, maybe some schools are open or some schools are closed. There are a lot of different ways.
"But I don’t think our guys are being irresponsible in terms of going out and putting themselves in harm’s way. If there’s anything, could it be surrounding around loved ones? Possibly. I don’t know that to be true. But I think as it relates to our guys and what they’ve been doing in terms of trying to take care of themselves, they’ve been doing it. They had a team meal in Washington as a group. It was outside. It was all league approved at a restaurant the league approved. So we’re following all the protocols. But obviously here in the state of Illinois and certainly in Chicago, it has been hit pretty hard as a lot of other states around the country. But I think our guys have been really, really responsible so far."