Bulls

Dosunmu, Johnson make seven Bulls in health protocols

Bulls

Hours before a road matchup with the Miami Heat Saturday night, Ayo Dosunmu and Stanley Johnson entered the NBA's health and safety protocols, according to an update to the Chicago Bulls' injury report.

With those entries, the Bulls now have seven players in protocols: Coby White, Javonte Green, DeMar DeRozan, Matt Thomas, Derrick Jones Jr., and now Dosunmu and Johnson.

Dosunmu has started the Bulls' last two games. Johnson, who was with the team in training camp and the preseason before missing out on a roster spot, signed a 10-day contract this week via a hardship exception granted to the Bulls in light of their short-handedness.

"We need a hardship for a hardship," Billy Donovan cracked to reporters before the Heat game.

Jones Jr., who entered protocols Thursday, has already traveled from Miami back to Chicago by airplane, Donovan said. The Bulls' coach added he doesn't yet know the team's travel plans for Dosunmu and Johnson.

Donovan also reiterated he hasn't heard talk of the NBA postponing any Bulls games in light of their recent slew of protocol entries. But, while no players have approached him with reservations about continuing to play, Donovan said he would understand if there were concerns.

"I would totally understand if somebody on our team's like, 'Listen, I don't feel comfortable with this. We're together, we're practicing and I don't feel comfortable playing,'" he said. "We haven't had any of that, but certainly COVID has impacted people in a lot of different ways, and I think people have, at least inside of our team, have had loved ones that have really suffered from it. It is a scary time."

 

As for those in isolation, Donovan reported some players feeling a little under the weather, some experiencing mild symptoms and some being asymptomatic altogether. The Bulls are a fully vaccinated team.

"Maybe some of it's from the vaccination, we've got a lot of guys sitting home with no symptoms," Donovan said. "I understand the testing protocols, and I understand what the league's trying to do in terms of keeping and making sure everybody's safe. But we do have guys back there that feel fine. And that's obviously a good thing too, because I think when guys have gone through real, real difficulty of getting really, really sick, it's really made it a lot harder for them coming back."

The Bulls are undergoing daily COVID-19 testing, and players and staff have been offered booster shots, according to a Bulls spokesperson.

In a positive development, Alex Caruso will be available against the Heat. Caruso strained his right hamstring in the Dec. 2 win over the Knicks and has essentially missed three games since. For the Bulls' last two games, he's been inactive; against the Nets on Dec. 4, he played through the injury for eight first-quarter minutes before being pulled by the team's medical staff.

Donovan said the team will manage his playing time carefully, likely shortening Caruso's stints from his typical 8-to-10 minute runs.

With Dosunmu and Johnson out, and Caruso back, the Bulls have 11 players available for the Miami game as of this writing: Zach LaVine, Nikola Vučević, Lonzo Ball, Caruso, Troy Brown Jr., Tony Bradley, Alize Johnson, Marko Simonović, Alfonzo McKinnie (who was signed to a 10-day contract via hardship exception on Friday) and two-way players Devon Dotson and Tyler Cook. Patrick Williams remains sidelined as he rehabs following wrist surgery in October.

Miami, meanwhile, will play without Jimmy Butler (tailbone contusion), Bam Adebayo (wrist surgery rehab), Markieff Morris (whiplash) and Caleb Martin, who entered health and safety protocols Saturday.

NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson contributed

Click here to follow the Bulls Talk Podcast.

Download
Download MyTeams Today!