LaVine rejoins Bulls after lengthy COVID-19 protocol stay

/ by Rob Schaefer
Presented By Coors Light

Bulls guard Zach LaVine has completed the NBA's health and safety protocols and rejoined the team, head coach Billy Donovan said before Monday's home matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers.

LaVine first entered protocol on April 15, and Monday will miss his 11th straight contest. Donovan said the "hope is" LaVine can return Thursday, when the Bulls travel to Charlotte to face the Hornets.

"He would be available to play today, but there's just not enough time for him to get his legs back under him," Donovan told reporters. "We just need a little bit of a ramp-up time before he can join the team."

LaVine spent the weekend getting individual work in at the Advocate Center as the Bulls made a one-game stop in Atlanta, where they fell 108-97 to the Hawks, on Saturday. After getting some additional work in at shootaround Monday morning, the plan is for him to continue rebuilding his conditioning on Tuesday and Wednesday -- the Bulls have a rare two-game gap in their schedule -- in advance of a road-and-home back-to-back that featured the Hornets on Thursday and the Boston Celtics on Friday.

The Celtics game will mark the first this season the United Center will open its doors to fans.

"I think he's excited to be back playing," Donovan said of LaVine. "I think for him getting in the gym was good."

Nikola Vučević will miss his second straight game Monday with right adductor (hip) tightness. Imaging on the area revealed "nothing significant," Donovan said, and the team will have a better idea of his status given how he responds the next two days.


"He obviously has some soreness. He's still feeling it," Donovan said, adding that Vučević wasn't able to do anything physically at shootaround.

The Bulls enter play Monday 26-38 -- 7-14 since the deadline, 4-6 without LaVine and on a three-game losing streak -- and trailing the Washington Wizards by three games for the final spot in the play-in tournament with eight contests left in the regular season.

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