Bulls take practice court, describe boredom, mild symptoms

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) greets center Nikola Vucevic (9) after a called timeout on Nov. 26. DeRozan, along with Coby White and Javonte Green, has returned from COVID protocols and will play Sunday against the Lakers.

    Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) greets center Nikola Vucevic (9) after a called timeout on Nov. 26. DeRozan, along with Coby White and Javonte Green, has returned from COVID protocols and will play Sunday against the Lakers. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 12/18/2021 6:54 PM

There was plenty of good news for the Bulls on Saturday.

No new players entered health and safety protocols, and they were able to hold a full practice in preparation for their first game in eight days on Sunday against the Lakers.

 

Of course, all good news can change quickly in the NBA these days, as the league is experiencing a rash of players in protocols, along with the normal assortment of midseason injuries. Orlando and Brooklyn played a game Saturday night with 24 players unavailable, 12 on each side.

All things considered, the Bulls won't be in terrible shape for Sunday's game. DeMar DeRozan, Coby White and Javonte Green are back from protocols, joining Lonzo Ball, Nikola Vucevic, Alex Caruso and Tony Bradley to give the Bulls seven players from their normal rotation.

Zach LaVine, Ayo Dosunmu, Troy Brown Jr. and Alize Johnson remain in protocols. Derrick Jones Jr. was listed on the injury report as questionable and Matt Thomas doubtful. Jones and Thomas have spent 10 days in isolation and could be available soon.

"It was a boring 10 days, you know," said DeRozan, who last played on Dec. 4 in Brooklyn. "You try and do as much as you can, stay as active as you can mentally. Physically, conditioning-wise I feel like I'll be fine. The last couple days just pushing myself as much as I can in the gym.

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"I felt completely fine. That was the crazy thing, sitting here fine and not trying to be aware of why I'm sitting here doing nothing. ... Only symptom I had was boredom, honestly."

White said he did experience some mild symptoms. He was the first player to enter protocols during this outbreak, back on Dec. 1 before the Bulls left for two games in New York.

"I had a fever, low-grade fever, like 99 (degrees)," White said. "That's how I knew I had it because I had a headache and I don't get headaches. I told people I've been way sicker before. Like, in high school I had strep throat and I was way sicker. It just felt like I had a cold for like two or three days, and then after that I was just chilling the whole time."

Early reports on the COVID omicron variant is very contagious, but milder symptoms, so maybe that fits with what's been going on in pro and college sports recently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I still don't know how I got it," White said. "I've tried in my mind 100 times to play back what I've been doing, and I can't figure it out. I still can't. So I kind of gave up on that. But it was just wild, man. Stuff that you can't control, though, so you've got to keep pushing forward."

The two Bulls games last week -- home against Detroit and at Toronto -- were still the only games postponed by the NBA as of Saturday evening, but it seems inevitable there will be more. The Bulls got a chance to rest up, but won't want to load up the schedule with makeup games later in the season.

Lakers all-star and Chicago native Anthony Davis was ruled out for Sunday's game after suffering an MCL sprain in his left knee against Minnesota on Friday. Davis is expected to miss four weeks. The Lakers have five players in health and safety protocols -- Avery Bradley, Dwight Howard, Talen Horton-Tucker, Malik Monk and Austin Reaves.

During the downtime, DeRozan said he watched every basketball and football game on television and tried to stay active as much as he could without leaving home. White appreciated the chance to practice Saturday.

"Today's practice was fun," White said. "This was my first real practice since I've been back from my shoulder (surgery). We competed, we went through drills. So for me this was my first real practice of the year, so it was fun."

• Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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