Billy Donovan gave Bulls fans some concerning news on Tuesday afternoon. According to the Bulls head coach, six players will not travel to Oklahoma City for the team’s final two preseason games on December 16th and 18th.
The news comes only one day after we learned of Noah Vonleh’s positive COVID diagnosis, who joined the team for training camp and clocked 11 minutes in the Bulls first preseason matchup last Friday. Vonleh was listed as being in “NBA protocol” on Sunday, while NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson later reported that Tomas Satoransky, Devon Dotson, and Luke Kornet were all “excused absences” from the contest. Now, a couple of days later, Vonleh has been waived, and two of the three are still not with the team.
While Donovan didn’t name which six players who would not travel, Johnson recently shared the Bulls updated injury report.
Here's Bulls' injury report:
Thad Young, lower leg infection
Denzel Valentine, leg hamstring strain
Garrett Temple, self isolating
Tomas Satoransky, not with team
Devon Dotson, not with team
Adam Mokoka, not with team https://t.co/IlVOfpAoeA
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) December 15, 2020
The good news is there are no new names on the Bulls list. Instead, Satoransky and Dotson both appear as “not with the team,” which could mean a variety of things. Both players could truly have an excused absence, or they could be in the NBA’s COVID protocol. The team has not announced whether either player has tested positive for the virus, but another possibility is isolation due to close contact.
The other four players not expected to be with the Bulls this week all have yet to see action in a preseason game. Young has been suffering, a reportedly “improving,” left leg infection. Meanwhile, Valentine has been healing a hamstring tweak, and Temple has been recovering from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, which has kept him from even joining training camp thus far. There have been limited updates on Adam Mokoka, but he also may be suffering from virus exposure, as he has also been listed as “not with team.”
One can only hope there are no more positive tests within the Bulls team, and these absences are all precautionary or related to something entirely separate. I’ll admit, though, the longer guys like Satoransky and Dotson are not with the team, the more it feels like they could miss the beginning of the season.
As for guys like Young, Temple, and Valentine, it stinks that none will get action in any of the preseason games. Each could be considered a quality veteran piece at this point in their career, but that doesn’t mean extra court time in a new system wouldn’t be valuable.
I just hope we can get this one big hiccup out of the way before the start of the season on December 23rd. With some positive momentum finally inside this organization, more health trouble would be incredibly frustrating.