The band is getting back together!
Media members at the Advocate Center this afternoon were met by plenty of familiar faces. Zach LaVine, Ayo Dosunmu, Matt Thomas, Alize Johnson, and Devon Dotson were each let out of the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols, according to head coach Billy Donovan. With the return of all six players, the Bulls officially have everyone out of protocols.
Billy Donovan said all the Bulls that were in protocols are out. Only Bulls players not involved in practice today were Alex Caruso and Derrick Jones Jr. (because of injuries)
— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) December 23, 2021
Considering LaVine, Thomas, Johnson, and Dosunmu all tested positive at least 10 days ago, their return to the floor doesn’t come as a massive surprise. However, the return of Dotson is a different story. The Bulls two-way guard tested positive on December 21st, raising new concerns that the outbreak within the organization could continue. But Donovan told reporters on Thursday that Dotson has already tested out of protocols, meaning his stint lasted less than two days.
While having all players back in the mix makes this Bulls team arguably the healthiest they have been since last month, we should note that both Alex Caruso and Derrick Jones Jr. did not join their teammates on the court today due to differing injuries. The team announced on Wednesday that Caruso would have to be re-evaluated in 7-10 days due to a foot injury. Meanwhile, Jones appears to be day-to-day with a hamstring tweak.
With so many players back in the gym today, it certainly leaves the availability of hardship players like Alfonzo McKinnie, Mac McClung, and Ersan Ilyasova up for debate. McClung and Ilyasova could be seen practicing for the first time with the team today, but Donovan told reporters he is unsure if either will suit up for the team by the time their next game rolls around. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, if the players stepping out of protocols are all cleared for a full return by the team’s game on the 26th, those hardship contracts will be terminated.
A player who has exited the health and safety protocols must be cleared medically. Once he is cleared, the hardship exception is terminated for that replacement player. The player will still receive the full 10-day amount. https://t.co/twQqVJC2Yj
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) December 23, 2021
Whatever the case may be, the Bulls finally appear to be out the other end of this outbreak and close to full strength! Phew.