The Chicago Bulls are approaching the healthiest they’ve been all season while other teams in the NBA have been ravaged by COVID-19.
After missing Thaddeus Young to begin the season due to a career-threatening staph infection, four players were placed on quarantine the night of the Bulls’ second game against the Washington Wizards in Lauri Markkanen, Ryan Arcidiacono, Chandler Hutchinson and Tomas Satoransky. Hutchinson and Satoransky tested positive, while none of the mentioned players made the West Coast road trip where Chicago went 1-4.
Markkanen and Arcidiacono are expected to return to the lineup on Friday against the Oklahoma City Thunder after Chicago’s Tuesday game against the Boston Celtics was postponed due to the Celtics not having enough available players amid a wave of first-hand contacts with the virus.
Arcidiacono spoke on his quarantine process which many players in the league and on the Bulls could face this season.
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Arcidiacono Stays Sharp With ‘Prison’ Workout
Confined to his two-bedroom apartment, Arcidiacono admitted there wasn’t much he could do but try to stay engaged with the team.
“I had a little yoga mat, kind of like prison workout stuff, foam roller here and there. Couldn’t really get any cardio in, but I just tried to keep my mind as sharp as I could,” he said. “Watched all the games. Group texting, Face Time with Hutch with Sato and Lauri, who were quarantining as well. Tried to stay in touch and keep that chemistry going.”
While Hutchinson remains in Washington, the other three drove back to Chicago for New Year’s, later learning that Satoransky also tested positive.
“I was just waiting for the phone call after Sato tested positive,” Markkanen said. “We were, I think, 13 hours in a car together. I was lucky enough not to get it, but we can’t control that. So I’m not wasting my energy and time worrying about getting tested every single morning and what we have to go through. I just try to focus on the good stuff and play a game.”
Markkanen Eager to Return
The Celtics game being postponed was a blessing in disguise for the Bulls who have had a full week since their last game. Arcidiacono and Markkanen re-joined the team on Tuesday and have had several days to reacclimate and get back up to speed.
Markannen will look to pick up where he left. He was shooting 48% from three-point range and averaged 17.3 points per game.
“I try to keep a positive mindset that I can’t control that kind of stuff. We’ve just got to get through this. We knew it’s not gonna be perfect, Covid-wise, this season. Unfortunately, it happened so early and I was feeling good,” Markannen said. “But we can’t change that. Just got to move on and come back and play well again.
Coach Billy Donovan has made a point that regardless of who is out on a given night, the objective is for the group to get better — a message Markkanen echoed in his Tuesday press availability.
We knew it’s not going to be perfect, so we were kind of expecting this kind of stuff and that’s been our mindset, next man up. A lot of teams are going through it right now. I’m just happy to be playing basketball again,” he said. “Hopefully we can keep doing that.”
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