Dosunmu, newcomer Johnson join Bulls' lengthy protocols list

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu (12) dribbles the ball against the Brooklyn Nets in New York on Dec. 4.

    Chicago Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu (12) dribbles the ball against the Brooklyn Nets in New York on Dec. 4. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 12/11/2021 7:58 PM

Two more Bulls players entered health and safety protocols on Saturday, bringing the total to seven players sidelined.

Rookie guard Ayo Dosunmu and newcomer Stanley Johnson joined protocols and are unavailable for Saturday's game in Miami. Meanwhile, the Bulls removed the injury designation from forward Alex Caruso (hamstring) and he is listed as available to play.

 

The Bulls signed Johnson and Chicago native Alfonzo McKinnie from the G-League this week using the NBA's hardship roster exception, which kicks in when a team has four players unavailable. The team released a photo on social media of both players participating in practice on Friday in Miami.

"We need a hardship for the hardship right now," Bulls coach Billy Donovan said before the game. "We're playing the game. We should be excited to be playing the game. This is the NBA, all of us dreamed of being here. It's a blessing and thank God the guys that are playing aren't sick. It's challenging, but we're going to have to find our way through the game."

Miami was short-handed as well on Saturday, with both Jimmy Butler (tailbone) and Bam Adebayo (thumb surgery) listed as out, while forward Caleb Martin entered health and safety protocols. Butler is sill recovering from a hard fall he took in the Nov. 27 game at the United Center.

The Bulls expected to have 11 players available for Saturday's contest, including regular starters Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, Lonzo Ball and Caruso.

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Top scorer DeMar DeRozan is in protocols, along with Coby White, Javonte Green, Matt Thomas, Derrick Jones Jr., Dosunmu and Johnson. Donovan has been in touch with those back in Chicago.

"Maybe some of it's from the vaccinations, we've got a lot of guys sitting at home with no symptoms right now," Donovan said. "I understand the testing protocols and I understand what the league's trying to do in terms of making sure everybody's safe.

"But we do have guys back there that feel fine, and that's obviously a good thing too, because I think when guys have gone through difficult of getting really sick, it's made it a lot harder for them coming back. So we do have some guys that have felt under the weather, we have some guys that have very mild symptoms and some guys don't have any."

Donovan said Jones was able to fly back to Chicago after entering protocols. He wasn't sure whether Dosunmu or Johnson will be allowed to fly back with the team after the game. The league office dictates those guidelines.

• Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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