Bulls fans got some good news on the COVID-19 front Thursday, when head coach Billy Donovan told reporters that Coby White and Javonte Green have each exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols. White, on Dec. 1, and Green, on Dec. 3, were the first protocol entries of the Bulls’ recent outbreak.
But the players who entered later in the process are still a ways away from returning. Zach LaVine, Ayo Dosunmu, Troy Brown Jr. and Alize Johnson “probably will not come back until after Christmas,” Donovan said.
“That obviously can change based on the testing protocols, which has obviously got to be two negative tests,” Donovan added. “But that’s kind of what we’re anticipating at this point and time.”
Dosunmu entered protocols on Dec. 11, LaVine and Brown Jr. on Dec. 12, and Johnson on Dec. 13. NBA rules dictate players must remain in protocols for 10 days, or until they return two negative PCR tests in a 24-hour span, then clear cardiac screening before being cleared to play.
DeMar DeRozan, who entered protocols on Dec. 6, and Matt Thomas, who entered protocols on Dec. 8, are also still in protocols, but on more of a “day-to-day” basis, according to Donovan.
The league postponed the Bulls’ Tuesday and Thursday games – against the Pistons and Raptors, respectively – in light of their outbreak. Between now and Christmas, home matchups against the Lakers (Dec. 19), Rockets (Dec. 20) and Raptors (Dec. 22) are on the schedule. After the holiday, the Bulls have a home-road back-to-back set against the Pacers and Hawks on Dec. 26 and 27.
While progress is being made in the health department over the team’s week-long break, expect them to remain shorthanded throughout that stretch. As of now, the Bulls sit 17-10 and third in the Eastern Conference.