Bulls Getting Boosted by 4x All-Star Against Lakers?

DeMar DeRozan Bulls

Getty DeMar DeRozan looks on during a game between the Chicago Bulls and the Denver Nuggets.

The Chicago Bulls won’t be hitting the hardwood again until Sunday, December 19 against the LA Lakers. When they finally do make their return after a COVID-19 outbreak forced the league to cancel two of their games, though, they may have at least one of their big guns back in the fold.

As relayed by NBC Sports Chicago’s Rob Schaefer, four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan has cleared health and safety protocols. As a result, he could be available to play when the Lakers visit the United Center.

DeRozan had been one of the stories of the Association prior to his bout with the coronavirus. After inking a multi-year deal that some deemed ill-advised or too pricy for Chicago over the summer, the 32-year-old has looked like an All-NBA player through the first third of the campaign.

In 24 games, he has averaged 26.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists per contest. Meanwhile, he has connected on 54.2% of his shots from between 10 and 16 feet from the hoop.

The Bulls’ Covid Nightmare Could Be Moving Toward Its End

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As of December 14, the Bulls led the league in player-days lost due to Covid protocols, per Fansure. Up to that point, the team had lost 233 player-days in total. Of course, having as many as 10 players in protocols at the same time is a great way to shoot up that particular list.

Now, though, Chicago looks to be turning a corner in its COVID-19 battle.

DeRozan is just the latest player to get out of protocols. On Thursday, Bulls coach Billy Donovan told reporters that Coby White and Javonte Green had both been cleared to resume basketball activities, per NBC. He noted that Green made his return to the team’s facilities on December 15, while White “has been back maybe a day or two more than Javonte.”

In order to clear protocols, a player must quarantine for at least 10 days or return two negative PCR test results at least 24 hours apart. From that point, there’s a ramping up toward return-to-play that includes cardiac monitoring.

Given the amount of time that all three players spent in protocols, it’s likely that all three actually contracted COVID-19.

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Westbrook Will Be Back for the Lakers, Too

While the Bulls hope to have more hands on deck when they take on the Lakers, the purple and gold crew has been repopulating its roster as well. As reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Friday, Russell Westbrook will be available for Los Angeles’ next game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Westbrook had just entered protocols on December 16, meaning he likely was able to test out. That same scenario played out for his teammate, Malik Monk, as well. So both players should be good to go in Chicago.

Elsewhere on the Lakers roster, former All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas officially put pen to paper on his 10-day contract with the team. So he’s another player who could see the court against the Bulls on Sunday.


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