Bulls Cleared to Return to Practice Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVDecember 18, 2021

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 1: The Chicago Bulls huddle up during the game against the Boston Celtics on November 1, 2021 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE  (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls received clearance to resume practice Saturday ahead of Sunday's scheduled home game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

ESPN's Jamal Collier reported the Bulls, who had two games postponed this week amid a COVID-19 outbreak that landed 10 players in the NBA's health and safety protocols, have returned DeMar DeRozan, Coby White and Javonte Green to the active roster in recent days.

The Chicago players who remained in the protocols as of Friday were Zach LaVine, Derrick Jones Jr., Matt Thomas, Ayo Dosunmu, Troy Brown Jr., Alize Johnson and Stanley Johnson, per Collier.

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said Thursday members of the organization have stayed separated during their shutdown in an effort to eliminate further spread, and he noted the NBA is doing the best it can amid difficult circumstances.

"I think the league is trying to do everything they can possibly do to play games and also keep teams safe and healthy," Donovan told reporters.

The Bulls are far from the only sports team trying to navigate an outbreak. The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has sparked a surge of cases that's had a significant impact on the sports world both in the United States and around the globe.

"You can just listen to the news about the NFL and it makes you more wary," San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said Wednesday. "We're all in the same boat, so to speak, and the NHL. I mentioned it to our team today at shootaround again about being vigilant about the people that they're around and where they go and all that sort of thing. We're all worried about it."

The NFL delayed three games on its Week 15 schedule, the NHL has shut down three teams through its holiday break amid a series of postponements, and five of the six matches in England's Premier League scheduled for Saturday were postponed.

Meanwhile, the Bulls are slated to return for three games in four days. After Sunday's clash with the Lakers, they face the Houston Rockets on Monday and the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

In all, the NBA has 16 games set for this weekend, and all of them are still listed to take place as scheduled.