Bulls' DeMar DeRozan Placed in COVID-19 Protocols, Could Miss Several Games

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 6, 2021

Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) dribbles the ball against the Brooklyn Nets during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
AP Photo/Noah K. Murray

The Chicago Bulls will be without their leading scorer for Monday's game against the Denver Nuggets and potentially for the foreseeable future.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported DeMar DeRozan was placed in the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols and "could miss several games" in addition to being out for Monday's contest.

DeRozan is a primary reason the Bulls are early contenders in the Eastern Conference and is averaging 26.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 0.9 steals per game this season.

Chicago acquired DeRozan in a sign-and-trade with the San Antonio Spurs this offseason in a move that could have been second-guessed considering Zach LaVine was already on the Bulls as a ball-dominant wing player.

However, the veteran has been a major presence for the Bulls as a go-to option in the fourth quarter and someone who can anchor the offense for extended stretches. The team looks better than it has in years with DeRozan and LaVine leading the way and is sitting in the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference at 16-8.

Playing without DeRozan will be a challenge, but losing players to COVID protocols is nothing new for this squad.

After all, Nikola Vucevic was out from Nov. 11 until Nov. 24 for that reason, and Coby White and Coby White and Javonte Green are both currently in protocols. While DeRozan helped the team remain afloat during previous absences, it will be up to LaVine and others to lead the way this time around.

LaVine will be the No. 1 scorer, but Derrick Jones Jr. and Ayo Dosunmu will likely see more playing time in the rotation.

In addition to Monday's game against the Nuggets, the Bulls face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, Miami Heat on Saturday and Detroit Pistons next Tuesday.

How quickly DeRozan returns will likely be a deciding factor in whether Chicago can remain near the top of the Eastern Conference standings in the early portion of the season.