Coronavirus concerns continue to hamper normal Bulls activity
CLEVELAND – It Wasn’t The Phone Call Coach Billy Donovan wanted to receive.
The timing – 6:30 am Wednesday – only made things worse.
Donovan was informed that the reserve guard thomas thomas had entered into NBA health and safety protocols, causing the team to send him back to Chicago.
Thomas joined DeMar DeRozan, Javote Green and Coby White in the protocols, with White and Green confirmed positive for the coronavirus. DeRozan and Thomas can only be described as in the protocols, a privacy choice for players the league instituted last season.
So Donovan couldn’t say much.
“Some of the rules from last year are very different this year,” Donovan said. “There are certain things that all of these guys need to clarify in the health and safety protocols, and it’s really more the league and the medical staff that determine if that’s been met.”
Thomas having to drive the five hours from Cleveland, however, was a pretty clear indication that he was more than just a false positive, but, again, little is known within the walls of protocol unless the player does not allow it.
For Donovan, being four-man was tough from a rotation perspective, and in the wake of the outbreak, the Bulls are limited in how much time they can spend with each other.
So there was no shootout in Cleveland, Friday practice in Miami was up in the air, and the Heat pre-game shootout had already been called off.
“The league has imposed certain things on us that we can and cannot do as a group, so it’s definitely been a little difficult,” Donovan said. “The hard part before the Denver game [on Monday] were you going through the preparation obviously, and everyone is there for the shootaround. You finish shooting, then you find out a few hours before the game that DeMar can’t play, so now you’re changing the starting lineup, changing rotations, so you have to be flexible. That’s what it’s about.
“Certainly there have been several guys on our team who have been impacted by this, but, yes, for your question, our practices have been impacted by this.”
Donovan said the league gave the team a hardship exemption, and all signs point to Stanley Johnson join the Bulls in Miami to help solve the depth problem.
To keep Alex Caruso made some progress in his recovery from a hamstring injury. He traveled with the team for the two-game trip and will have two days off to continue leg testing ahead of the game in Miami on Saturday.
“There will be a lot more sprints, side cuts just to see how he responds,” Donovan said. “So the phase he was in when he got injured, he’s way past that right now. So he’s doing really well. Now, I don’t know how he’s going to react to this start, this stop, this sprint, but the doctors, as well as Alex, feel quite comfortable with where he is now.
Caruso was tied with Jimmy Butler for the league leading steals with 2.2 per game. The Bulls hope to have Caruso against the Heat, even if he is under a minute restriction.