Slowly but surely, the Chicago Bulls roster is getting back to full strength.
Lauri Markkanen and Ryan Arcidiacono both rejoined the team earlier this week after missing the past seven games. The two players were out due to contact tracing procedures after Tomas Satoransky and Chandler Hutchison each tested positive for COVID-19. According to head coach Billy Donovan, Markkanen is currently on track to play tomorrow night. While there was no update on Arcidiacono’s status, I think it could be assumed that he is also probable for Friday night’s contest in Oklahoma City.
After missing the last seven games while under the league's health and safety protocols, Bulls coach Billy Donovan feels Lauri Markkanen is on track to play tomorrow vs. the Thunder.
— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) January 14, 2021
Meanwhile, Hutchison was given the green light to return to the Advocate Center, but Donovan described him as still having a “ways to go” before he can proceed with business as usual. Satoransky has yet to receive the same news, but that feels expected under the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols, as it’s believed Satoransky did test positive a couple days after Hutchison. Regardless of whether or not both get clearance over the next day or so, however, Donovan did say that neither will travel with the team for their shot two-game road trip this week.
Otto Porter is the only player on the Bulls injury report who has not recently suffered issues with COVID-19. The Bulls veteran forward left the team’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers after only 6 minutes of action due to back spasms. He then went on to miss the Bulls next contest against the Los Angeles Clippers. With the Tuesday night matchup against the Boston Celtics postponed, it looks like the Bulls may have dodged another game without Porter. He told the media today that he “feels good,” but he would not officially commit to playing tomorrow night in Oklahoma City.
This was Porter’s first practice since experiencing back spasms and leaving Lakers game last Friday (also missed Clippers game Sunday).
Said he doesn’t know yet if he’ll play tomorrow vs. OKC https://t.co/BnExuU36Mk
— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) January 14, 2021
Porter has been more than helpful off the bench and in the starting lineup this season, averaging 12.8 points (43.8 FG%, 41.7 3PT%), 6.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game. While it is best-case-scenario to have him available each night, the Bulls will likely be overly cautious with any injuries that arise. We all know how much time Porter has missed in the past, and the goal this season is to proactively limit any chance at another extended absence.
The Bulls will now have to think about how to slip all of these players back into the rotation without messing up a surprisingly good stretch of basketball. The chemistry has looked great over the past few games, and we can only hope that continues.
Can the Bulls Avoid Another Adjustment Period as Key Players Return?https://t.co/NgnBJZZaRq
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 14, 2021