Amid a full-blow COVID outbreak, the Chicago Bulls have (mercifully) been put on pause this week. But it’s not just the postponed games they’re missing. According to head coach Billy Donovan, the team hasn’t been able to do anything at all. And now, it seems, Zach LaVine (among others) is NOT expected to return to the team until sometime after Christmas.
Anticipates Zach LaVine won’t be back until “after XMas.” https://t.co/C3E5et83Ka
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) December 16, 2021
According to Donovan, Ayo Dosunmu and Alize Johnson are also not expected back until after Christmas with LaVine. Donovan said that the Advocate Center has been entirely shut down this week to the team but added that Javonte Green and Coby White have been in the building ramping up for their returns after being released from the Health & Safety Protocols, and Alex Caruso has been in the facility to get treatment on his hamstring.
The Bulls are supposed to return to action on Sunday evening against the Los Angeles Lakers, after having games with Detroit and Toronto postponed. However, the Lakers are now dealing with a breakout of their own with Dwight Howard, Malik Monk, and Talen Horton-Tucker in the Health & Safety Protocols this week.
The Lakers announce that Dwight Howard and Malik Monk are also out because of the health and safety protocols, joining Talen Horton-Tucker
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 15, 2021
As far as the Bulls practicing goes, Billy Donovan told reporters today that he’s waiting to hear from the league on a direction for Friday and Saturday.
Donovan expects to hear more from the league today on when the team can practice.
"I don't know what Friday and Saturday will look like for us," Donovan said.
— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) December 16, 2021
The Bulls have three games on the schedule between today and December 26 when Zach LaVine, Ayo Dosunmu, and Alize Johnson will be eligible to return from the Health & Safety Protocols. The Bulls play the Indiana Pacers on December 26 at 7:00 pm (CT), but might that be unreasonable to believe that LaVine, Dosunmu, and Johnson would be ready to play the same day they’re eligible to return? I would have to imagine that December 27 in Atlanta or December 29 at home against Atlanta would be a more accurate return to play date for that trio.
Either way, the good news here is that the Bulls are getting closer to being on the other end of this outbreak.