Like countless professional sports franchises, the Chicago Bulls endured their share of COVID-19-related absences last season.
To this point, they have avoided any issues this season, a trend they hope continues with the fact the team is now fully vaccinated. A team source confirmed the development to NBC Sports Chicago.
On the team's Sept. 27 media day, executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas said "we are getting pretty close" when asked about the percentage of players who are fully vaccinated. Like most teams, the Bulls offered as much education and information as possible on the subject to players who had yet to receive the shots.
At his annual season-opening news conference on Oct. 18, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the leaguewide vaccination rate has reached "roughly 96 percent" despite not reaching agreement with the players association on a vaccine mandate. Unvaccinated players are subjected to daily testing for COVID-19 and face multiple restrictions that limit their contact with vaccinated teammates.
The Brooklyn Nets, whom the Bulls face on Monday, have told All-Star guard Kyrie Irving he can't play or practice with the team until he can be a full-time participant. Irving, who is unvaccinated, plays in a New York market that requires vaccination on a city ordinance level to enter indoor gyms.
Breakthrough infections obviously can occur. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Wednesday that Tobias Harris tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. Harris missed the 76ers' victory over the Bulls and also won't play when the rematch occurs on Saturday at the United Center.
"It hit him, for sure," 76ers coach Doc Rivers said before Wednesday's game. "A lot of guys have had this and they are mad, like, 'What the hell? I'm fine.' Tobias is not in that category right now."
But the Bulls have done all they can to put themselves in the best position to stay healthy. They are fully vaccinated.