Bulls Heat Basketball

Billy Donovan has coached the Chicago Bulls to a surprising 17-10 record so far this season, but the team has had two games postponed this week because of a COVID-19 outbreak. Marta Lavandier/Associated Press

CHICAGO — Coach Billy Donovan isn’t sure how many players the Chicago Bulls will have for their next game – or when that next game will take place.

They’re scheduled to host the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Whether that game is played remains to be seen.

The Bulls still had plenty of uncertainties on Thursday as they try to work their way back after having two games this week postponed because 10 players were in the NBA’s health and safety protocol.

“I think the league is trying to do everything they can possibly do to play games and also keep teams safe and healthy,” Donovan said.

The Bulls have not played since a loss at Miami on Saturday. Two days later, backup forward Alize Johnson entered the protocol, leaving Chicago with the league minimum eight players available.

The Bulls were scheduled to host Detroit on Tuesday and visit Toronto on Thursday. Chicago instead became the first team in the league to have games postponed this season by the NBA.

The Bulls, who are fully vaccinated, have stayed apart in an effort to reduce the spread since returning from Miami. Donovan said no players or coaches have been added to the list since the team was shut down.

Backup guard Coby White and wing player Javonte Green have been cleared in recent days and began working out at the team’s practice facility. Whether they will be ready to play Sunday was still in question. But even if they are, the Bulls’ roster would remain gutted.

Donovan said All-Star Zach LaVine probably won’t return until after Christmas. The same goes for Ayo Dosunmu, Johnson and Troy Brown Jr. Those four were the most recent to enter the protocols.

It’s not clear, either, when leading scorer DeMar DeRozan will be back. The four-time All-Star has not played since Dec. 4.

Injured players like Alex Caruso (hamstring) have been allowed to get treatment. But otherwise, there hasn’t been much happening lately at the team’s facility.

The Bulls were waiting to hear from the NBA on whether they can practice the next two days. The shutdown comes during a resurgent season. Chicago is third in the Eastern Conference at 17-10 and has its sights set on its first playoff appearance since 2017.

CAVALIERS: Isaac Okoro entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the team said.

Okoro, who scored 23 points and delivered a highlight-reel dunk over three Houston players in Wednesday night’s win over the Rockets, will be out for an undetermined period.

One of the team’s best defensive players, the 20-year-old Okoro has scored at least 16 points in his last four games while helping the surprising Cavs reel off five straight wins and improve to 18-12.

PELICANS: Zion Williamson has received a biologic injection that is meant to promote bone healing in the area of his right foot that he fractured this past offseason.

The Pelicans, who announced the new treatment for the face of the franchise, said Williamson will be “limited to low-impact, partial weight-bearing activities for an extended period.”

Another round of imaging on Williamson’s foot is expected to be performed in four to six weeks, the club said, at which point there could be an update on his condition.

The club said the injection was given following consultation on Wednesday with Dr. Richard Ferkel of the Southern California Orthopedic Institute.

The additional treatment came six days after the Pelicans announced that Williamson had experienced a “regression” in his surgically repaired right foot, further delaying his long-awaited return to the court.

That was the second setback since Williamson was cleared in late November to participate in five-on-five practices at full speed. When he was scheduled to take part in his first full practice of the season on Dec. 2, the team announced that it wanted him to rest instead because of renewed foot soreness.

LAKERS: Russell Westbrook entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, joining Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brooklyn’s James Harden as past league MVP’s currently sidelined by coronavirus concerns.

THURSDAY’S GAMES

PACERS 122, PISTONS 113: Caris LeVert scored 20 of his 31 points in the first half and Indiana sent visiting Detroit to its 13th straight loss.

Saddiq Bey led the Pistons with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Cade Cunningham added 19 points, and Frank Jackson had 18. Detroit is an NBA-worst 4-23.

NETS 114, 76ERS 105: Kevin Durant scored 34 points, making a four-point play with the game tied and 1:46 left, and Brooklyn beat visiting Philadelphia for another short-handed victory.

The Nets were missing seven players because of coronavirus health and safety protocols but still had Durant, the NBA’s leading scorer, who added 11 rebounds and eight assists.

Blake Griffin and Nic Claxton both added a season-high 17 points for the Nets, who had just nine players available.

Joel Embiid had 32 points, nine rebounds and six assists in the 76ers’ third straight loss. Seth Curry scored 29 points.

KNICKS 116, ROCKETS 103: Immanuel Quickly hit seven 3-pointers and scored 24 points to help short-handed New York win at Houston.

New York snapped a four-game losing streak, winning for just the second time in its last nine games. Houston has lost four of five since a seven-game winning streak.

The Knicks had four players out because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols – R.J. Barrett, Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes and Kevin Knox. On top of that, Derrick Rose started the game but left because of a sore right ankle after playing just 12 minutes.

Daniel Theis led Houston with 22 points and 10 rebounds.

 

 

Comments are not available on this story.