CLEVELAND — Matt Thomas has entered the NBA's health and safety protocols, according to a Chicago Bulls injury report update Wednesday morning.
Thomas is listed out for Wednesday's road matchup with the Cavaliers. He traveled to Cleveland with the team on Tuesday, but will travel back to Chicago, a Bulls spokesperson said. He will remain in protocols for at least 10 days or unless he produces two negative PCR tests within a 24-hour period.
Thomas is the fourth Bull to enter protocols in this week-long outbreak, joining Coby White (on Dec. 1), Javonte Green (on Dec. 3) and DeMar DeRozan on Dec. 6). The team confirmed positive COVID-19 test results for White and Green.
With Thomas' protocol entry, the Bulls applied for and were granted a hardship exception to temporarily add a 16th player to the roster, and used it to ink Stanley Johnson, who spent training camp with the team. Johnson lost out to Thomas in the battle for the Bulls' final roster spot in October; since, he has appeared in six games for the Lakers' G League affiliate, averaging 15.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.2 steals with 40.5/28.6/75 percent shooting splits.
But with Thomas, DeRozan, White, Green, Alex Caruso (right hamstring strain) and Patrick Williams all out, the Bulls are down to 11 players against the Cavaliers (Johnson will likely join the team for Saturday's game in Miami). Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball, Nikola Vučević, Derrick Jones Jr., Ayo Dosunmu, Tony Bradley, Troy Brown Jr. and Alize Johnson all factor in from the regular roster, as of this writing; the team also brought G League oscillators Devon Dotson, Tyler Cook (who are both on two-way contracts) and Marko Simonović to Cleveland.
The Bulls are a fully vaccinated team, but with this slew of protocol entries, have been testing multiple times per day. The team is limited in their ability to hold practices and shootarounds, and players are now encouraged to wear masks during team activities, according to a source.
When the Bulls are at full strength, Thomas functions as an end-of-bench reserve, but he jumped into the rotation for Monday's win over the Nuggets with DeRozan, White, Green and Caruso all absent. He scored three points and notched a steal in 19 minutes.
NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson contributed