The Chicago Bulls currently have nine players in the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols, after Zach LaVine and Troy Brown Jr. entered the mix on Sunday. Throw in an injury to starting power forward Patrick Williams, and the Bulls have just nine healthy players at their disposal, which includes Alfonzo McKinnie, who signed on a 10-day contract under the NBA’s hardship exception. But according to the league, that’s all the Bulls need to suit up and play on Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons. As of now, the game is on.
But the Bulls are not about to pretend like everything is OK without a fight, not without their top-2 leading scorers and a total of seven normal rotation players.
NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson reported the Bulls have made appeals for the NBA to press pause.
The NBA mandates teams have a minimum of eight active players available to hold a game. To this point, the league has given no indication it will change its stance, although, according to a source, the Bulls are making appeals for it to do so. The league’s focus has been on the number of bodies, not which bodies, that determine whether games will be played or postponed.
With Coby White and Javonte Green set to return sometime this week, it’s only going to be that much more difficult to convince the NBA to change course. By not doing so, however, it feels like the league is putting pressure on players like White and Green to get back on the floor ASAP – even if their conditioning and health are not fully up to speed.
The good news is that, regardless of what the NBA decides to do, the Bulls already have a shorter week on the calendar. After Tuesday’s matchup with the Pistons, the Bulls will head to Toronto to player Thursday before a two-way break and meeting with the Lakers. White, Green, and DeRozan should technically all be out of isolation by Sunday’s game against the Lakers, but the question is whether or not all will be well enough to step right back onto the court.
Under league rules, the Bulls need to have eight eligible players vs. the Pistons on Tuesday. There have been no Covid-related postponements in the NBA this season, but the Bulls outbreak — with LaVine and Troy Brown the latest — continues and postponements could be an option.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 12, 2021
Meanwhile, the Bulls UC-mates are getting a game postponed because their opponents have six players and one staff member out. Just sayin’….
BREAKING: Tonight's #Blackhawks game has been postponed.
Six Calgary Flames players and one staff member entered the NHL's COVID-19 protocol today.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) December 13, 2021
For more on the Bulls situation, check out NBC Sports Chicago’s post below:
To this point, league is focused on number of bodies—not which bodies—available for games to be played. Teams need to have 8.
As of now, Bulls have 9 for Tuesday and Coby White's window opens before Pistons game.
Details here: https://t.co/x5NnWlyJJ0
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) December 12, 2021