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Report: Zach LaVine out for Bulls-Bucks Game 5 (coronavirus protocols)

Zach LaVine in NBA 2022 Playoffs - Chicago Bulls v Milwaukee Bucks

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 20: Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls drives to the basket against the Milwaukee Bucks during Round 1 Game 2 of the NBA 2022 Playoffs on April 20, 2022 at the Fiserv Forum Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images).

NBAE via Getty Images

Even if you’ve already written off the Bulls – who trail the better Bucks 3-1 entering Game 5 tomorrow in Milwaukee – the wider worry of coronavirus disrupting the NBA playoffs intensifies.

For the second time this postseason, a star will miss a potential elimination game due to coronavirus issues.

This time it’s Chicago guard Zach LaVine.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

If Chicago loses, what a bitter way for LaVine to enter unrestricted free agency – disconnected from his team, failing to win a playoff series. This is definitely not how LaVine wants to end his long-awaited first postseason.

Though LaVine has been merely alright against Milwaukee, the Bulls are already missing their other starting guard, Lonzo Ball. Chicago can ask only so much of Alex Caruso, Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu. DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic will feel even more creation burden from the frontcourt.

This is LaVine’s fourth known coronavirus issue. He missed a couple weeks last April/May, was delayed in joining Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics and missed another couple weeks in December. As of November, the Bulls were fully vaccinated, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

The NBA’s most widespread coronavirus problems might be in the rearview mirror. But with the stakes so high this time of year, a single case can be so disruptive.