Hutchison, Satoransky return to practice after battling COVID
The Bulls can offer proof that there's no rhyme or reason to how the coronavirus can affect a person or community.
Chandler Hutchison had a few days of severe symptoms, while Tomas Satoransky said he barely had any.
Hutchison thought he was doing everything he could to be safe, but he tested positive for COVID while the Bulls were in Washington from Dec. 29-31. Satoransky was considered a contact-tracing risk and tested negative for the first couple of days.
It was only after Satoransky returned to Chicago, riding in a chauffeured van for roughly 12 hours with teammates Lauri Markkanen and Ryan Arcidiacono, that he tested positive. But his two ride-sharing teammates never did.
Hutchison and Satoransky returned to practice Wednesday, and Bulls coach Billy Donovan is optimistic they'll be able to play Friday in Charlotte.
Two other starters are questionable, though. Donovan said center Wendell Carter Jr. left Wednesday's practice early with a thigh contusion and rookie Patrick Williams did only the noncontact portions of practice after missing Monday's game with a hip injury.
This season has been a rough one for Satoransky. He had to quarantine for 10 days during preseason because of close contact with Noah Vonleh, who tested positive and was released. So out of 18 games the Bulls have played, including exhibitions, Satoransky has been available for just four.
"When I knew that I'm positive, it was beyond frustration," he said Wednesday on a Zoom call with reporters. "It was a difficult moment. I was fine going into the isolation on my own, but I was kind of worried about my family. Fortunately, they all tested negative. So that calmed me down. But mentally, that was the toughest part, just being away from the team for the second time, watching the games, knowing you could help.
It was the day of the second game in Washington on Dec. 31 when the problems hit. While Satoransky, Markkanen and Arcidiacono were quickly sent back to Chicago, Hutchison spent the next 10 days or so in his Washington hotel room, riding out the disease.
Someone from the hotel staff brought food and water to his room. And even though COVID-19 hit him hard, Hutchison said he never considered moving to a hospital.
"It got pretty bad there for a couple days, but I don't think I got to a point where it was too tough to where I couldn't stay where I was in the hotel room," he said. "Just trying to rest and get a lot of water and hydrate and just stay in communication with our training staff here and our health and medical staff.
"If I had to describe it, it was basically kind of like a really tough flu. Started with a fever, chills at night, things like that. Kind of lose your appetite here and there."
Eventually, Hutchison tested negative a few times and was able to take a commercial flight back to Chicago. On Wednesday, he thought about what his experience could teach others.
"If it was bad for everyone, I think everyone would take it a lot more serious," he said. "So I would say, just do what you can. I thought I was doing everything I could to maintain my safety. But that's the thing, there are some things you can't control. You just hope for the best and you try to limit the things you do that put you at risk."
After watching the Bulls play well from afar, both players are eager to get back on the court and start helping again.
"I'm taking it day by day, practice by practice," Satoransky said. "Fortunately, now we have three days before our next game, so we can go through like two full practices. I played 5-on-5 (Tuesday) with our development coaches. I'll just see. I'm trying to get my condition to the best level possible and then hopefully I can help."
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